Northwest Herald Athletes of the Week for Feb. 2-8


Lilly Johnson, Marengo, jr., basketball

Johnson and the Indians won their last six conference games to win the Kishwaukee River Conference championship, sharing the six-team title with Woodstock North at 9-1. The Indians handed North its only conference loss last week and then beat Harvard in its final game to win the KRC for the second year in a row.

Johnson had 10 points in Marengo's 43-40 win over North, and led the Indians with 14 points in their win over Harvard. Marengo's season ended Friday with a loss to Marian Central in the Class 2A Wheaton Academy Regional final. Johnson tied Jennifer Heinberg for the team lead with 16 points.

Johnson was voted Female Athlete of the Week by readers for her performance and answered a few questions from sports writer Alex Kantecki.

What do you remember most about your performance last week?

Johnson: We shared the ball really well and gave all of our energy to win those games.

Who is your favorite teacher?

Johnson: Mr. Paul Forsythe (Physical education).

What is something about you that not a lot of people know?

Johnson: I can play the ukulele.

Who is your funniest teammate?

Johnson: Adriana Georgiades.

Which professional athlete would you like to hang out with for a day?

Johnson: Stephen Curry.

What food can you just not stand to eat?

Johnson: Watermelon.

What would you do with a million dollars?

Johnson: I would pay my siblings' college tuition and also my own. And I would donate the rest of the money.

What’s your favorite holiday?

Johnson: Christmas.

What would be your ideal vacation?

Johnson: All of my best friends and I would go to a beach house in Florida for a whole week.

What's been your favorite memory from this season?

Johnson: One day at practice, Coach [Nick] Rode imitated what a wolverine sounds and moves like. It was really funny.

What is your most prized possession?

Johnson: A blanket that my best friend Jennifer made with pictures of us on it.


Niko Lopez, Marian Central, jr., wrestling

Lopez claimed the 182-pound individual title at the Class 2A Woodstock North Regional last week with a pin against Prairie Ridge's Tommy Evans. Lopez, a junior, transferred from Montini after he qualified for the 3A state meet at 160 pounds last season, but had to sit out with a hamstring injury.

Lopez was the runner-up at the Deerfield Sectional on Saturday and will go back to state, this time in 2A. Lopez was voted Male Athlete of the Week by readers for his performance and answered some questions from sports writer Joe Stevenson.

What do you remember most about your regional meet?

Lopez: I remember keeping my composure and not letting the score get to me.

If you were a superhero, what would be your powers and what would you be called?

Lopez: My powers would be superstrength and being able to fly. My name would be Super Suave.

What goes through your mind in those last few moments before you compete?

Lopez: I prepare myself to get ready to go hard for six minutes and keep my composure.

What sport that you don't play do you wish you were good at?

Lopez: I would say golf, because it seems so relaxing and laid back. Plus, golfing seems fun, too.

What is your go-to food during the season while you're trying to keep your weight down?

Lopez: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I have one almost every day.

What is the worst injury you've ever suffered on the mat?

Lopez: When I tore my labrum in eighth grade and had to have surgery.

Wrestling is quite intense, but what was something funny that happened in a competition this year?

Lopez: In my conference finals match, the kid mid-match pointed at the ref's shoes because he was wearing toe shoes and said, "Hey, nice shoes."

What is the best way to pass the downtime at tournaments?

Lopez: Walk around the school or take naps.

What is your favorite class?

Lopez: English, because my teacher is so supportive and always checking with me. Plus, I enjoy it, too.

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