Hicks averaged 23.7 points and 9.7 rebounds while leading the Wildcats to a 3-0 start to their season last week. He shot 77 percent from the field and averaged four blocks in those wins. A year ago, he averaged 18 points and 9.3 rebounds. The 6-foot-5 Hicks is a third-year starter and is on pace to surpass 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in his career. “He has improved every year, and is the best player on a potential conference championship team and a potential state tournament-qualifying team,” Janesville head coach Joe McKenna said. Hicks also plays football and runs track.
Vesely, who serves as the Sailors’ post, had 21 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks in a 59-32 win over Independence in Columbus’ season-opener at Upper Iowa Saturday. “Ali is the type of player that coaches love to coach,” said Sailors coach Cory O’Brien. “She cares, is coachable, works hard and is a selfless teammate. She spent a lot of time in the gym this summer working on her game, and it has shown. As a coach, you love to see players have success when they put in the time and work to get better.” Vesely also participates in volleyball and golf. She has a 3.85 GPA.
After spending the past two seasons on the sophomore team, the 6-foot-3 Haag made a huge splash last Friday, scoring 28 points in the Wahawks’ 69-63 overtime victory over defending state champion Cedar Falls. “I’m extremely proud of him with his effort and his growth,” West coach Cliff Berinobis said. “Caleb has a lot of skills, always has. He works hard with his skill work, and it is great to see all of that hard work pay off. He is part of the reason why we think we are going to be a very hard team to defend this season.”
Roybal won the 113-pound weight class at the Keith Young Invitational, beating Norwalk’s fourth-ranked Grant Harbour in the finals. That victory avenged an 8-2 loss to Harbour that eliminated Roybal from the 2018 3A state tournament last February. Roybal, ranked sixth, also beat 2A’s third-ranked Brooks Meyer of Denver in the semifinals. “What you saw from him on Saturday is the way he practices every day,” Go-Hawks head coach Eric Whitcome said. “He is non-stop, very mindful of what he is doing in the practice room and how it benefits his skill set.”
The 5-foot-10 senior is a four-year starter and was a critical component in the Wahawks’ wins over Class 4A’s No. 6 Western Dubuque and No. 9 Fairfield last weekend. Against Western Dubuque, Ceaser had 19 points, three boards and four steals. She followed that up with 13 points, four rebounds and six assists against Fairfield. “NaTracia has been providing us good senior leadership,” West coach Dr. Anthony Pappas said. “She has a lot of experience and continues to improve. We are looking for her to have a great senior season.” Ceaser also participates in track and was a first-team all-Mississippi Valley Conference selection last season.
Back-to-back trips to the podium at the state wrestling championships have positioned Class 2A’s top-ranked Thomsen as one of the favorites at 138 pounds in 2019. Seventh at 106 as a freshman and third last year at 120, Thomsen showed he is ready to challenge by winning the Keith Young Invitational with a 4-3 win over No. 2 (3A) Colby Schreiver of Mason City. “He’s a little more confident,” Union coach Bart Mehlert said of Thomsen. “His technique is a little better, but his confidence is probably the biggest thing.” Thomsen, the younger brother of former Union state champions Logan and Max, also runs cross country.