Looking back at 2023 through the eyes of your local sports editor

Games won, best quotes and sports people we lost

Princeton freshman Bella Clevinger (left) and junior Kelsea Klingenberg are both cancer survivors. Clevinger developed leukemia at age 3, Klingenberg had melanoma at 12.

It’s time to look back at the sports stories and sports people from 2023 through the eyes of your local sports editor.

Best quote(s): A good quote makes for a good story. This was a well-played year for quotes.

After a poorly played game in the field, Hall baseball coach Tom Keegan said, “This is an imperfect game played by imperfect people.”

He also said, “There’s no crying in baseball, except for maybe losing Mac (Resetich) next year.”

While on the subject of replacing Resetich on the football field, and what he was going to do, Hall coach Randy Tieman said, “Probably cry.”

When I asked what his job was as the new Princeton quarterback this fall, junior Will Lott simply said, “Win.”

Bureau Valley basketball coach Jason Marquis recently summed up junior Elijah Endress’ hot shooting against Princeton saying “I’m happy for Elijah and I’ll be happier when he gets his hair cut.”

My favorite stories: Writing about the St. Bede girls playing football (sadly some on social media made sexist remarks), PHS volleyball players overcoming cancer, sharing the history of the passing of Forrie Finn, the last of Princeton’s “Famous Five” state tournament basketball team from 1955, Grady Thompson chasing Joe Ruklick’s scoring record at Princeton, the “Fight Like Erin” (Matlick) story and the St. Bede girls winning the state softball championship, to name a few.

Most talked about stories: Many of my favorite stories were also the most talked about that I wrote, including the St. Bede girls playing football, the PHS volleyball players overcoming cancer, the Fight Like Erin and the Forrie Finn and Dennis McCoy stories.

Best interview(s): While talking to the St. Bede football girls you could sense their excitement about getting the opportunity to play a sport considered by most for boys only.

Favorite game to cover: The St. Bede softball team rallying to knock off two-time defending state champion Glasford Illini Bluffs 7-6 for the Class 1A state championship. Madelyn Torrance drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth to capture St. Bede’s first state championship in program history.

Torrance’s comments could have probably been shared by all of her teammates when she said: “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

This story could very well be repeated next spring with the Bruins bringing back a wealth of talent including aces Reagan Stoudt and Ella Hermes, the co-BCR Players of the Year.

Favorite moments: Covering the Princeton Tigers’ basketball team’s rise to a 24-0 start and No. 1 state-ranking for the first time in school history and Thompson’s run to break Joe Ruklick’s 68-year-old school scoring record, along with the St. Bede state champion softball team.

Cool moments: Three former Princeton Tiger football players met on the field at the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. Kaleb Cain is the equipment manager for the University of Oklahoma and brothers Branden and Caleb Haring are managers for the University of Arizona. ... Mac Resetich playing for the University of Illinois football team and University of Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz coming to Prouty Gym to watch Hawkeye recruit Teegan Davis play basketball for Princeton.

Worse moment: Seeing Davis, arguably the best all-around athlete in the history of PHS sports, and certainly the best in my 37 years, go down with a devastating knee injury while landing on a triple jump. He’s on the road to recovery at Iowa and made the trip with the Hawkeyes to the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. on New Year’s Day.

Norma Bickett

Sadly lost: We lost many good people in the sports world in 2023, including my dear friends Coach John Mason, Norma “Grandma B” Bickett (long time Bureau County super sports fan/mother of former Ohio all-stater, Bureau Valley coach Brad), True Wahlgren (matriarch of Princeton Tiger sports family), Tom Odell (PCA Principal/Tiger grandpa) and Ron DeBrock (former BCR Editor). Sadly, we also lost Forrie Finn (1955 Princeton Tiger great), Ron Childs (Bureau County Hall of Famer of Mineral High School basketball), Rich Krier (boat racer), Chad Hopper (Princeton Tiger super fan), Dennis McCoy (former Amboy Clipper standout/captain) and Eldon Molln (Master Bowling champion, running back for LaMoille’s 1974 playoff team).

Kevin Hieronymus has covered Bureau County sports as the BCR Sports Editor since 1986. Contact him at khieronymus@bcrnews.com

John Mason has coached basketball for 56 years, including stops at Ohio and LaMoille.
Tom Odell
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