Three Rivers Conference blessed with big time athletes

Logan Lee, Orion class of 2019; Iowa 2024

The Three Rivers Conference may be a rural, small school conference, but that hasn’t kept it from producing big-time athletes.

Look no further than former Orion Charger Logan Lee, who was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the sixth round of last week’s NFL Draft out of the University of Iowa. He told Matt Randazzo of WQAD that he got a phone call with a Pennsylvania area code and figured it must be the Steelers calling.

Lee said it’s unbelievable “knowing I’m going to at least get a chance.”

Pretty wild when you think Lee comes from a home town of 1,800, a 2019 graduate of Orion High School.

Princeton’s Teegan Davis, who continues to rehab with the Iowa football team from a knee injury during his senior indoor track season at PHS, said Lee’s story is an inspiration to all football players.

“Logan is a great man. I got to talk to him and all the knowledge he has helped me adapt to being here,” Davis said. “He is definitely an inspiration to me seeing a player from our area making it to the NFL. It couldn’t have happened to a better person and the Steelers are getting one heck of a football player.”

Davis was one of two Big 10 athletes to come out of Bureau County last year, including Hall’s Mac Resetich at the University of Illinois. Resetich had a solid freshmen season breaking in with the Fighting Illini’s special teams and defense.

This year’s senior class from the Three Rivers is continuing the trend of Division I athletes.

Payne Miller

Princeton alone has two Division I football recruits in Bennett Williams (Air Force) and Payne Miller (Western Illinois). PHS junior Noah LaPorte promises to join them a year from now.

Bennett Williams

PHS senior Morgan Foes has signed to throw for the Illinois State track & field team.

Morgan Foes

Another pair of Three Rivers athletes are heading to prominent colleges on the ball diamond. Newman’s Brendan Tunink will play baseball for the Notre Dame Irish and Rockridge’s Kendra Lewis will pitch in the Big Ten for the Wisconsin Badgers.

Tunink, aka the “Big Tuna,” said it’s been one of his dreams to go to Notre Dame ever since he first went on the South Bend campus when his sister went there. White Sox scouts watched him play Thursday at Princeton.

“I also took a tour and ever since it’s been a dream of mine to go there. When I got the call from the coach, I’m like, ‘I’m going there,’” he said.

“I’m super excited to go. Can’t wait to go.”

Newman’s Brendan Tunink is SVM’s 2023 baseball player of the year.

Lewis has her sights set on pitching the Rockets to their fourth straight IHSA State championship. She threw a three-hit, 10-0 shutout at Princeton on Tuesday and recently recorded her 700th career strikeout.

But she still can’t help but look to her future days in Madison.

“The time is coming and I’m getting super excited. A little nervous, but definitely more excited and can’t wait,” she said.

Rockridge's Kendra Lewis makes her pitch against Princeton Tuesday at Little Siberia Field. She will be pitching for the University of Wisconsin next year.

Bridgett McGann, who was an early graduate at Mendota, has enrolled at the University of Wisconsin and is on their swimming team. Her swim times indicate that she would be a potential Olympian in the 2028 Summer Games. She had offers from Auburn, Indiana, and Missouri as well, Mendota athletic director Brock Zinke said.

Other seniors from the Three Rivers going on to Div. I include:

Carmyn Huston of Monmouth-Roseville, who is walking on at Illinois State for track and field.

Ava Hartman of Sherrard, who will play softball at Eastern Illinois.

McDonald joins Illinois staff: Former Hall and University of Illinois standout Cam McDonald has joined the Fighting Illini baseball staff as Director of Player Technology.

A five-year letterwinner of the program, McDonald finished his Illini career among program leaders in games played (220, T-7th), games started (219, 5th), hits (255, 8th) and RBIs (163, 9th) and started 158-straight games to end his career. He set the program record for longest on-base streak at 63 games.

Thompson earns 6th-man award: Princeton’s Grady Thompson had a solid freshman season for the University of Dubuque basketball team. He received the Spartans’ “Sixth-man award” and was a 2024 Sparty’s Award Nominee as a “Newcomer of the Year.”

The 6-4 guard played a key role on a team loaded with seniors. He averaged 7.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game while shooting 44% from the 3-point line. He played 19 minutes a game in his first season with the Spartans. He scored a career-high 15 points in a win over Monmouth with a career-high 13 rebounds against Nebraska Wesleyan.

Remembering Jim: I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Princeton Elementary and Ohio schools administrator Jim White. He was a good friend and a man who deeply loved his family and cheering for their Princeton Tiger teams. My deepest condolences to Tim and Mary and the rest of the White family.

I’d also like to express my sympathy to the family of McKenna Peed, 19, the 2023 Kewanee High School graduate and wheelchair athlete I wrote about. She was very inspirational in her much too short life.

Kevin Hieronymus has been the BCR Sports Editor since 1986. Contact him at

Have a Question about this article?