Charlestown senior Tanner Wesp loves to get dirty, whether it’s playing baseball (as a first baseman) or doing the ‘dirty” work of rebounding, defending and leadership on the basketball court for the Pirates. Wesp is averaging 6.4 points and leads the Pirates in rebounding at 6.4.
Courier-Journal: After a slow start, Charlestown has won three straight games. Do you feel you’re headed in the right direction?
Tanner Wesp: Yes, we are. We have a tough game coming up this weekend at Providence. That’s always a tough place to play, no matter how good or how bad they are. They always play with a lot of energy. That game will really test us and see where we are after the winning streak.
C-J: What is your job as a senior leader?
Wesp: It’s settling people down and keeping their heads in the game. When things get exciting, they want to get excited, too. You can’t let that take over. It’s helping them keep focused on what we want to do and being a positive influence on the floor.
C-J: What have you learned from playing two sports?
Wesp: They’ve helped me learn that I can actually lead people and set an example. It’s also helped me mature. When I was younger, I let the emotion get to me and I was out of the game if I got a bad call. In the future, I can be someone in a leadership position, someone who knows how to communicate.
C-J: Since you plan to major in civil engineering in college, are you fascinated by the bridge projects on the Ohio River?
Wesp: It’s pretty cool. We had a kid from Indiana State talk to our class, and he was interning for a company on the project. He helped design the structure leading up to the bridge. I wanted to be a surgeon like my grandfather for a long time, but that opened my eyes to how cool and fascinating it is to build those things.
C-J: While baseball is your best sport, what do you enjoy about basketball?
Wesp: I love baseball more than I love basketball, but basketball is something that allows me to be physical. I can be more of a vocal leader on the basketball court. If you’re yelling and screaming on the baseball field, it looks goofy. I just have fun with it.
C-J: Who has been your role model?
Wesp: My dad has been the most influential person in my life. He’s battled cancer several times, and he’s always positive about it. He never lets it get to him, and it’s really amazing how he pushes through the adversity. It doesn’t faze him, even though he has a disease that can kill him.
C-J: Do you ever let his condition worry you?
Wesp: I know, no matter what, he’s going to be positive and be there for us. He just fights so much. He doesn’t give up. He’s the rock that’s always there.
C-J: Charlestown competes in a tough conference and sectional. What are the goals this season?
Wesp: Right now we’re trying to take it one step at a time, game by game. We’d like to win the holiday tournament. That would be a good Christmas gift. It would be awesome to win that. It would be something special.
TANNER WESP UP CLOSE
Family: parents Jim and Jill; sisters Sarah (24) and Emma (21)
Student/athlete: Tanner also plays baseball. He is a member of National Honor Society, Student Council, and he serves as a PBIS student leader. He plans to play baseball in college and major in civil engineering.
Coach Jason Connell: Tanner is a hard worker and he understands the game very well. He takes pride in doing the dirty work on the floor.