Boys' Athlete of Year: Cale Huisinga

Boys' Athlete of Year: Cale Huisinga

We asked boys' Athlete of the Year Cale Huisinga, from Monticello, to describe what high school sports meant to him:

It's pretty hard for me to try to put my high school sports career into view. It is actually pretty hard for me to believe that it is all over. From the day I started sports, I always had people who inspired me. I think that's possibly the most important thing in athletics: inspiration.

For me, it all started with trying to beat my dad in a game of one-on-one, or trying to be faster than my mom in a race, or competing against my 22 cousins from both sides of my family. I've had a brother, sister and many cousins who have gone to state in basketball, baseball, track, water polo, golf and wrestling, so they are most definitely the source of my desire to compete.

Besides family, I had always watched old (Michael Jordan) highlights, LeBron (James) in high school and most recently Derrick Rose's AAU highlights on YouTube. Inspiration for me didn't have to come purely from someone's physical gifts, though there have been many people who have inspired me by the examples they show or the things they say to me. One person who really sticks out in my mind is Joe Huisinga, who was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2007. Joe would always write me letters during the season to congratulate me on how I was doing and encouraged me to keep working hard in everything that I did. After Joe passed in February of last year, his wife Jean would still call and write to me and tell me how proud Joe would have been. This meant so much to me and was inspiration for me to get to where I am now.

I want to thank God, my family, friends and teammates who have helped me get to this point in athletics and more importantly in my life. I also enjoyed everyone that I have played alongside. I have made friendships that will last me for the rest of my life and I want to thank you guys for all the good times.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Cale Huisinga earned eight varsity letters at Monticello between football, basketball and baseball. As a senior, the 6-foot-4, 200-pounder was a first-team All-Area selection in football as a wide receiver after catching 70 passes for 862 yards and eight TDs for the Sages. He was a first-team All-Area basketball player as a forward, averaging 17.7 points and 8.2 rebounds. He played baseball for the first time since his freshman year this spring and hit .317. He'll attend Tennessee to major in architecture and will attempt to make the football team as a walk-on.

Honorable mention
Jade Ackerman    St. Thomas More
Bobby Aikman    Arthur
Connor Allen    PBL
Stephan Birt    GCMS
Clinton Brubaker    Monticello
Kyle Clevenger    Urbana
Zane Dillon    Schlarman
Gunnar Edwards    Tuscola
Justin Flinkman    CPCI
Cameron Ford    Danville
Nate Freeman    St. Thomas More
Lucas Gones    St. Joseph-Ogden
Michael Grant    Bismarck-Henning
Blake Janesky    Danville
Guy Kirby    Fisher
Brannon Kwiatkowski    M-S
Doug Kyrouac    Champ. Central
Dan Lilly    Urbana Uni High
Marcel Maiden    Watseka
Tyler Myers    Rantoul
Brandon Noe    St. Thomas More
Tom Pacey    Paxton-Buckley-Loda
Joe Pratt    Salt Fork
Michael Romshek    GCMS
Justin Schuring    Arthur
Denzel Stewart    Champ. Central
Matt Strack    Centennial
Dylan Sturgeon    Unity
Brandon Ward    Champ. Central
Daniel Wells    DFB