67
      Sunday
      86 / 67
      Monday
      89 / 71
      Tuesday
      91 / 70

      SAW: Brody Gronewold

      KHQA STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE WEEK PRESENTED BY SUBWAY, PETERS HEAT AND AIR, AND CELL TECH

      BRODY GRONEWOLD

      Illini West Football/Basketball/Baseball

      GPA: 3.5

      Class Rank: 22nd

      Future College: Undecided

      When you look back on the 8-3 finish for Illini West football this past fall, the performance and leadership from quarterback Brody Gronewold seems to stick out amongst the storylines. And when the Chargers wrap up the current basketball season, the performance and leadership of Brody Gronewold will stick out. Are you seeing a pattern? The Charger senior has become a pivotal component to Illini West success, both out of necessity and his own determination to take the reins.

      Even a casual follower of Tri-State sports has probably taken notice of what's happened in Carthage. From junior contributor to senior centerpiece, the evolution of Brody Gronewold has been something special to witness.

      "Yeah its been quite a change from last year just because we lost so many of our key players and key scorers. Coach told me this year I need to step up and take charge, and I've just tried to do what my coaches tell me,"

      His ability to take charge was never more evident than this past fall, when he quarterbacked the Chargers to the second round of the postseason. Not bad, considering Brody wasn't even on the team the previous two years.

      "I got back in just because I was in the weight room a lot with the football guys and they kind of talked me into it. I'm friends with a lot of the football players and I look up to those guys so it was easy to step in there with them and play,"

      That's perhaps what's most astonishing - he made it look so easy, blasting away the rust from two football-free school years and becoming a serious thorn for opponents.

      "It was one of the best decisions of my life - I had a ton of fun playing for Coach Lafferty. I look up to him more than just about anybody and it was just a really great experience,"

      And that's just football season. Now well underway into the basketball schedule, Brody has continued his senior evolution by taking his brand of quarterbacking to the hardwood.

      "I kind of have more of a voice on my teams this year. Last year, being a junior, there were people like Jack Bastert and Evan McGaughey that would tell you what to do. But this year I've stepped in and had my own opinion more and its been really nice,"

      Really nice, except for Charger opponents. Gronewold has crafted himself into a legitimate 20-point threat each night. But his stat lines are never a result of trying to meet the expectations that come with such a prolific role.

      "I didn't want to try and live up to too many expectations. I just wanted to go out, play my game, and keep the coaches happy,"

      And there's still more to be written, more strides to be made. Whether its this spring during baseball season, or at the next level at one of 3 colleges considering Brody for basketball. The timeline on his senior campaign reads much differently than it did a year ago, and that's what defines Brody Gronewold the best.

      "I think a lot of people think of me as a leader around here, trying to do what I'm told and do things the right way,"