FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Katie Beyer, McHenry, basketball
McHenry forward Katie Beyer averaged 22.7 points and 11.5 rebounds a game last week at the Maine East Thanksgiving Tournament. McHenry captured the tournament title, finishing 4-0.
Beyer tossed in 14 points and seven rebounds in a 54-39 loss to Hampshire in the Fox Valley Conference opener on Tuesday and led the Warriors (5-1) with a double-double of 24 points and 16 rebounds in a 60-50 win over Jacobs on Friday.
Beyer averaged 12.9 points and 8.1 rebounds a game as a sophomore. The 6-foot-1 forward is looking to blow past those numbers as a junior.
Beyer was voted Female Athlete of the Week by readers and answered a few questions from sports writer Alex Kantecki about her big opening-week performance and McHenry's strong start to the season.
What do you remember most about your performance at the Maine East Thanksgiving Tournament?
Beyer: We played really well as a team and I thought that we were able to rebound and box out really well, which allowed me to get good boards and start our offense.
What’s your favorite thing about playing basketball?
Beyer: My teammates. When you have teammates you’ve been playing with for a long time, you become friends for life. It’s something that's really special.
Who is the most difficult one-on-one matchup in the Fox Valley Conference?
Beyer: Hampshire (junior) Kelby Bannerman. She’s a really good player and we’re normally matched up when we play each other. I feel like we go back and forth pretty well.
Do you have any rituals or superstitions before you play?
Beyer: When we run out, I always have to touch the top of the door. I do it every game.
What is your favorite fast food item?
Beyer: McChicken from McDonald’s.
If you could jump into a time machine, what athletic contest would you want to see?
Beyer: I would like to see the Cubs win the World Series. I’d like to be at the field for that.
What is your most prized possession?
Beyer: My basketball hoop in my driveway. I use it almost every day. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have it.
What’s your favorite movie and TV show?
Beyer: “Moana,” and “Friends.”
What is the scariest thing that you’ve ever done?
Beyer: Once I went snorkeling in Grand Turk, and there were sharks in the water. That was really scary.
What is a place you’ve never been to but would like to visit?
Beyer: Alaska. I've seen some pictures and it looks really pretty.
MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Nick Legnaioli, Richmond-Burton, football
Richmond-Burton junior Nick Legnaioli was a big play waiting to happen most of the season, whether that came on offense at running back, on defense at linebacker or on special teams as the Rockets kicker or a returner.
The Class 4A state championship game was no different. Legnaioli had four types of scores in that game – rushing touchdown, return touchdown, a field goal and extra points – as R-B rolled to a 50-14 victory over Murphysboro.
Legnaioli, known on the team as “Nicky Legs,” carried six times for 97 yards and two touchdowns. He returned the second-half kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown and he kicked a 25-yard field goal in the first half.
Legnaioli was voted as Northwest Herald Male Athlete of the Week by readers. He answered a few questions from sports writer Joe Stevenson.
What will you remember most about your performance and the Class 4A state championship game?
Legnaioli: I went into the game with the mindset of “Do what I always do.” Coach Mike Noll always says, “Keep it simple,” and that’s exactly what I did. The 88-yard kickoff return touchdown was memorable because of the fantastic blocking by Logan Hutson and Landon Jacoby, allowing me to bob and weave. Coach told the team we had to come out fast and strong in the second half and that’s exactly what we did.
If you could celebrate touchdowns in high school like they do in the NFL, what would you do with your teammates after you scored?
Legnaioli: We would to the limbo. During our Thanksgiving day practice, coach asked the seniors to create a dance. They were broken into teams of three. They chose the limbo and decided I was the limbo bar. Each group performed a unique dance underneath me.
Who is your favorite NFL running back?
Legnaioli: Walter Payton. I didn’t get to watch him play live because I wasn’t born yet, but my dad (Brad) would tell me how good of a player he was. I watched videos of him when I was little to see how hard and fast he would run.
What are three of your favorite Christmas movies?
Legnaioli: “Home Alone,” “Elf” and “The Grinch.”
If you could play football at any college, where would it be?
Legnaioli: Wisconsin. I have always enjoyed watching the Badgers and they are one of my favorite teams.
What is your favorite class?
Legnaioli: Pre-college math because math has always been one of my favorite subjects. There is always one answer to the problem. I have a lot of friends in this class, which makes it fun to learn.
Which video game are you really good at?
If you're making the pregame music playlist, what are you putting on it?
Legnaioli: I listen to a variety of music. I’ll listen to rap, but I often listen to country before games to calm my nerves.
What sport are you not any good at?
Legnaioli: I am not very good at golf. I often golf with my dad. He always wins because I can never keep the ball in the fairway or out of the bunkers.
What would be your dream job?
Legnaioli: Playing in the NFL.
Who gave you the nickname “Nicky Legs”?
Legnaioli: When I first started playing football, everyone had trouble saying my last name. I also was one of the fastest players on the team, so everyone started calling me “Legs” for short.