It was another banner year for sports in Valparaiso. From yet another state title for the high school gymnastics team to former Vikings making it happen at the pro level, Valpo has had a lot to dwell on in the world of sports in 2014.
It wasn’t easy, but we have narrowed down all the positive stories and selected ten as the best of this year. So without further ado (in no particular order), here are the 10 best sports stories produced by ValpoLife.com in 2014!
2014 Valpo Half Marathon Brings Runners Out for a Good Cause
On a windy and brisk Sunday morning the Valparaiso Half Marathon brought out around 500 runners from various states to participate in the fall run. The marathon, which is put on by the Porter County United Way, takes a course through country roads in Valparaiso.
The event serves not only as a run for first time and experience athletes but as a fundraiser for the Porter County United Way. The charity has put on the race for the past five years and each year devotes their proceeds to various programs that the organization provides. This year the run will help benefit the Power of Youth Council, which is a program that is run through various high schools in the county. Power of Youth is a group of students who volunteer at various programs, fund raise for the United Way, give out funds to programs around the county, and help students be confident in themselves.
Hummel Has Valpo To Thank for Developing Him Into Pro Player
Robbie Hummel has always bled Valpo green, and now he is using many of the lessons he learned growing up here at the highest level of professional sports.
Even now, playing against the best basketball players in the world as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Hummel finds inspiration in those he watched play while growing up in Valparaiso.
“There’s so many,” Hummel said during an interview with ValpoLife.com earlier this month. “I watched them all. Scott Volk, Bryce Drew, Matt Handlon, the Rhinehart brothers, Dave Furlin, Joe Nixon. The list is endless.”
Valparaiso Clashes Against Chesterton For A Hectic Friday Night
It was a jam packed night when the Valparaiso Vikings took on their rivals the Chesterton Trojans at Valparaiso High School. A series of events filled the night as one of the area's biggest competitors battled it out during the biggest night of the year.
Before the game started a football tradition finally made its way to Valpo. After two previous cancellations VHS's seniors actually had their chance under the spotlight for Senior Night. Between the football team, the team's managers, the Vikettes and Valpo's cheerleaders there were 35 seniors who took a walk across the field with their loved ones.
Viking Trio Highlights All-DAC Volleyball Team
Three Valparaiso High School volleyball players headline a list of 12 named to the All Duneland Athletic Conference team in 2014. The Vikings, paced by all-conference selections Rachel Bontrager, Kate Bontrager and Monroe Olsen, finished atop the DAC as a team as well.
VHS Alum Brad Karp Completes Stellar Career at Saint Xavier
The list of all-time collegiate basketball players in the state of Illinois is a long one, with several players from NCAA Division I schools such as the University of Illinois, DePaul, Loyola and Illinois State continuing their careers as superstars in the NBA.
But when it comes to the top career scorers at any collegiate level in Illinois, it is Valparaiso native Brad Karp who finds himself right at the top of the pack. Karp, who graduated from Valparaiso High School in 2010 and played four years at Saint Xavier Universityin Chicago, ranks fourth on that list with a career points total of 2,889. He trails only Hersey Hawkins (Bradley, 3,008), Kevin Koeman (Trinity Christian, 3,007) and Alfredrick Hughes (Loyola, 2,914) and ranks ahead of other notable alumni from the Land of Lincoln including Doug Collins (Illinois State, 2,240), Mark Aguirre (DePaul, 2,182) and Deon Thomas (Illinois, 2,129).
Valpo Celebrates Homecoming with 27-13 Win Over Portage
It was one heck of a night for Valparaiso High School! On Friday night, the Vikings celebrated their homecoming game with a parade, homecoming court, and a win over their rivals in the Portage Indians.
Hours before the players took their first steps onto the field, groups of Valpo students gathered in the Northview Elementary parking lot for their homecoming parade. The parade, which traveled down the street to the high school, included the girls basketball team, the boys basketball team, Key Club, French Club, SADD, Team LEAD, STAND, Hope Club, the VHS Vikettes and cheerleaders, Cooks Corners Elementary, Memorial Elementary, the Drama Club, Earth Awareness Club, and - of course - homecoming court.
Lindner, Drew Honored with VU Jersey Retirement
Of the hundreds of young men who have played basketball for Valparaiso University, none had his number retired until Wednesday night.
Arguably the two greatest players in Crusaders history, Bruce Lindner and Bryce Drew had their exceptional careers acknowledged as the university retired jersey No. 24, the first number ever retired by Valparaiso. Lindner wore the number in the late 1960s, 24 years before Drew donned it in the mid-1990s.
Hundreds of Triathletes Brave the Elements for 12th Annual Valpo Triathlon
Rain could not bring down the athletes participating in the 12th annual Valparaiso Triathlon. On a soggy and unseasonably cold Saturday morning, around 300 hundred athletes competed in the triathlon. Participants from ages 15 and up made their way through Rogers-Lakewood Park by biking 12.4 miles, swimming a quarter-mile, and running 3.2 miles.
The biggest factor of the day was Mother Nature herself. During the entire race the rain poured down without stopping. Even if a force of nature like heavy rain should have stumped the athletes, most of them powered through. Barbie Johnson, who has been working the triathlon for the past 12 years, said that the rain didn’t faze the participants.
Thomas Jefferson Football Tops Ben Franklin
On a crisp fall evening, a tradition was upheld in Valparaiso. Two teams, Benjamin Franklin Middle School and Thomas Jefferson Middle School faced off for a special football game. The cross town rivalry between BF and TJ is well-known, so this made for a lively and memorable game.
Nathan Kaufman, head coach for TJ, promised the team that if they won, three coaches will shave their beards that they have been growing since the beginning of the season. It looks like Coach Kaufman, Coach Wassilak, and Coach Znika will be clean shaven men. TJ beat BF 37-20.
Valpo Gymnasts Make it Happen Again; Finish Undefeated and Win State Title
The Valparaiso High School gymnastics team finished its undefeated season by winning the state championship in Muncie.
The Vikes performed consistently well throughout the meet, but they were .475 points behind after the third rotation. The floor lineup of Sydney Intagliata, Hanna Wilson, Rushelle Miller (5th place), and Lia Milroy (6th) outscored runner up Bishop Dwenger by over a point on the last event to win the title.
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