Chart toppers: Elite three-sport athletes, courtesy Fred Kroner

Chart toppers: Elite three-sport athletes, courtesy Fred Kroner

Alexus Jimson-Miller, Danville
A scholarship track and field recruit at Miami (Ohio), Jimson-Miller didn’t spend her school year in training for the spring. She was a special mention All-Area pick in volleyball and a second-team All-Area performer in basketball. The 5-foot-6 hurdler has the area’s best time in the 100-meter event (14.15 seconds), a time second on the all-time Area Honor Roll. “Alexus is a person that enjoys being part of a team and enjoys different sports,” Danville girls’ track coach and athletic director B.J. Luke said. “Our philosophy at Danville High is to promote the opportunities to participate in different seasons, and Alexus epitomizes that philosophy. She is nationally ranked in her events and is not a one-sport specialist. A nice kid, she is Danville’s version of ‘Chip Hilton.’ ”

Katelynn Martinez, Centennial
After placing sixth in the Class 2A golf regional last fall and qualifying for the sectional meet, she earned All-Area first-team honors last winter in basketball for a state-ranked team. The reigning Area Soccer Player of the Year is still a force in the spring, scoring 10 goals in her first 11 matches. For good measure, she ran the 5-kilometer race at last week’s Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon and placed ninth in the women’s division. “Katelynn has the two best attributes any coach could ask for: athleticism and positive attitude,” Centennial soccer coach Hsiung Marler said. “She is a natural athlete. She is fast. She could have excelled at track. Her attitude is equal parts determination and drive. She simply sets a goal for herself to succeed and pushes herself until she is there.”

Mitch Negangard, Unity
An All-Area first-team linebacker in football, for a team that played in the Class 3A state finals, the 6-footer earned special mention recognition in basketball. This spring, he is the No. 1 pitcher on the Rockets and has five wins to go with three home runs. When not pitching, he plays shortstop. “He has the ability to motivate everyone around him due to his competitive fire to be successful,” Unity baseball coach Tom Kimball said. “Although he has had great stats in all three sports, the success of the team is most important to him. For an athlete to compete in three sports is very special today, and Mitch has had the ability to do that successfully mainly because of his work ethic. He wastes very little practice time in baseball and has great focus.”
Lexi Wallen, St. Thomas More
The sophomore is in position to become the third female athlete in area history to be All-Area first team in three sports the same school year. The soccer goalkeeper was also a top pick in volleyball and basketball. The short list of others in the club: Prairie Central’s Melanie Ward (1990-91) and Westville’s Terra Ramsey (2005-06 and 2006-07). “Lexi puts her heart into whatever she does and gives nothing but 100 percent effort at all times,” STM soccer coach James Johnson said. “Lexi is an extremely driven individual whose work ethic inspires other team members to utilize all of their potential.” Wallen hasn’t allowed a goal in seven of STM’s first 14 matches and has an 0.86 goals-against average. “Our team is very lucky to have such a gifted athlete on the team.”

Josh Wallick, Fisher
The junior was an All-Area football offensive lineman last fall, shuffling between guard and tackle. The 285-pounder followed up by winning all 50 of his wrestling matches last winter, pinning his state championship opponent in 2 minutes, 53 seconds. He was the first area athlete to win 50 matches in a season. During the outdoor track and field season, Wallick ranks fourth in the discus (146 feet, 9 inches) and has a season best of 43-111/2 in the shot put. “It’s rare to see talented kids of his size, especially at the 1A level,” said Ben Derges, Fisher’s athletic director and assistant football coach. “He lives and breathes competing. That’s what allows him to be a three-sport athlete. In all sports, he is willing to put in the time to practice and learn to get better and find ways to improve.”

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