IndyStar is recognizing high school athletes of the week from across the state. Top Hoosier athletes are nominated by their athletic directors and coaches. For more information about our Indiana Sports Awards, contact Matthew VanTryon at email@example.com or Matthew Glenesk at firstname.lastname@example.org. These athletes were chosen for the week ending Aug. 20.
Mikey Kidwell, West Lafayette
Mikey Kidwell didn’t know the absurdity of what he was doing until after the deed was done. His coach Shane Fry didn’t know either. Someone told him. He couldn’t believe it.
By the time West Lafayette had knocked off Tri-West 55-27 in the season opener Aug. 19, Kidwell had thrown seven touchdown passes and for 499 yards. He’d rushed for 70 yards and another score.
He broke his own school record for touchdown passes in a game. When Kidwell heard his numbers after the game, he was shocked.
“I didn’t think I threw for that many yards,” he said. “I was surprised.”
So was his coach.
“You’re kind of into the game, and when somebody told me after the game that he had seven touchdown passes I had to do the math in my head,” Fry said. “Those are mind-boggling numbers.”
But Kidwell deflects praise for his performance. It was his offensive line. Or the nine receivers who caught passes. Or the wide receivers coach.
“I just knew I was completing passes and the receivers were getting open,” Kidwell said. “The offensive line gave me a lot of time.”
Fry has experience as a defensive coordinator, assuming the role under former West Lafayette coach Marshall Overley from 2009-2012. Fry said he wants his offense to do things that “keep defensive coordinators up late at night.”
Kidwell’s performance certainly qualified.
“If I was a defensive coordinator trying to defend us, I wouldn’t get a lot of sleep,” Fry said.
Sam Brenneke, Seton Catholic
There’s getting off to a good start, then there’s what Sam Brenneke did for Seton Catholic.
He scored four goals and added two assists in the team’s season-opening 11-2 win against Providence Cristo Rey. Next game? Five goals against Anderson Prep Academy.
Two games. Nine goals. And, oh yeah, he’s a sophomore. But he doesn’t want the credit.
“Definitely it starts with my defense,” he said. “They’ve done a great job clearing the ball up to our midfield, and our midfield is giving me great through-balls and opportunities to score.”
Though Brenneke might not be as seasoned as others on the field, that doesn’t stop him.
“Sam has leadership skills right up there with our seniors,” Seton Catholic coach Kyle Dunn said. “He has field vision and game knowledge right up there with them as well. He can get back there behind the line quicker than anybody I’ve ever seen. He can outrun them, outwork them, outthink them.”
Drew Shellenberger, Southport
A freshman, Shellenberger led Southport to a win in the Richmond Invitational Aug. 20. He was the top boys finisher with a time of 17:08 time. It was the first invitational win for the Cardinals in over a decade.
Megan Slamkowski, Guerin Gatholic
Slamkowski was the top finisher in the inaugural Circle City Conference Championship on Aug. 20. The senior led the Golden Eagles to a first-place finish as a team, beating Brebeuf Jesuit, Bishop Chatard and Roncalli.
Slamkowski holds numerous program records, including the 5K, the 3200-meter run and the 1600-meter run. She advanced to semi-state each of the past three years.
Katie Niehaus, Vincennes Rivet
Niehaus scored five goals and tallied three assists for Vincennes Rivet in the first two games of the program’s history. The sophomore scored three goals and has one assist against North Knox on Aug. 15 and scored two goals and had two assists Aug. 17 against Terre Haute South.
Katie Isenbarger, Zionsville
Isenbarger totaled 43 kills, eight blocks, 12 digs, four aces and 29 points scored in 13 sets over three matches last week against McCutcheon, Brebeuf Jesuit and Center Grove. The junor leads the Eagles in kills and blocks.
Cailyn Henderson, Westfield
After a top-10 finish at state last year and winning numerous tournaments this summer, Westfield junior Cailyn Henderson hasn’t missed a beat as No. 1 Westfield’s season has begun.
She shot a 2-under 71 in the team’s Western Invitational, good for medalist honors and enough for Westfield to pace the field. She followed that performance with a 39 three days later as Westfield beat Carmel, Zionsville and Noblesville.