By Ellie Alholm
The shoes squeak as the players hustle down the court. The Dog Pound chants loudly from the stands. Pom poms shimmer in the fluorescent lights. Freshman Kyle Neibch stops just behind the three-point line. Neibch shoots. He scores, which gives him a season-high 21 points.
Neibch began playing basketball 12 years ago, at the age of three. Neibch has accomplished a lot since then, such as being named to the varsity all-tournament team during the Ken Peddy Windmill City Classic.
“This year, Neibch listened and took to coaching. He kept quiet but played hard and did everything that was asked of him,” said Coach Jim Nazos.
Neibch´s teams went to state in both seventh and eighth grade, placing fourth place in seventh grade with 14 points and third in eighth grade with 11. One game last year, Neibch scored his career-high of 37 points.
¨Being on a team with Kyle is a blast,” said teammate Luke Nelson. “He is always a good person and brings a good attitude and personality to the team. Every game he scores more than 15 points, and is arguably the best player.¨
Neibch is a team player, according to those around him.
¨Being a teammate is something that I take very seriously and feel like that’s how you make a team great,” Neibch said.
Neibch was also a quarterback on both the freshman football team in the 2018 season. He was then moved up to the varsity team for the playoffs. Every game day, Neibch would show up to the field lively and ready to compete for a Bulldog win.
“I work equally hard for both basketball and football. I love to compete and just play sports overall…¨ Neibch said.
When asked what it was like being on a team with Kyle, the responses usually revolved around what a great teammate he is.
¨He loves being a Bulldog which makes him a very coachable player… I enjoyed coaching him and am excited to see what he can do in the future on and off the field,¨ said Neibch’s football coach Michael Theriault. ¨He is a great leader, as well… He demonstrated how to battle adversity throughout the season which rubbed off on his teammates and impacted our team greatly.¨
His teammates say that Kyle is compassionate and is always willing to lend a hand.
¨Kyle impacted the football team by being one of the best players on the field so naturally, everyone followed his lead but, he thought about other people more than just himself scoring,¨ said AJ Sanders, a friend and teammate of Neibch. ¨Being the only two freshmen on the varsity team during playoffs was a memory I will never forget.¨
According to coaches and teachers, Neibch abilities do not stop at just sports; Neibch is a hardworking and dedicated student, as well.
¨He is very intelligent and a student of the game. He works hard in school and in football to study and make sure he is prepared for any challenges he will face,¨ Theriault said.
Teachers agree that Neibch aims to do good in school and all activities he is involved in and won’t stop until he reaches his goals.
¨He was always at the top of his game academically, but he would not settle for simply stopping at a target until he reached it or mastered it,¨ said former teacher Todd Swanson. ¨He always worked hard to go beyond.¨
Outside of school and sports, Neibch expressed how important family was to him. He is very close with his senior brother, Ethan Neibch, who plays varsity basketball and is a wide receiver on the football team.
¨This past year I was so lucky to play on varsity with my brother. It was truly a dream come true,” Neibch said. ¨This was something we’ve always dreamed of so that was a big accomplishment. We would work out together. We both know that our parents are very proud of us. He will be missed next year when he goes off to college.¨
Neibch also mentioned his dad and how much he looks up to him.
¨My biggest inspiration is my dad,” Neibch said. “He has always pushed me and been there when I needed someone to work with. He has been through this too and understands the goals I want to reach, such as being D1 someday and how to get me there.¨
Neibch is a talented athlete and strives to get better and better at the sports he loves. According to his friends, teammates, and coaches, Neibch work, dedication, and good-natured personality are definitely paying off.
¨Kyle has drive, determination, and grit, but most of all, humility,” Swanson said. “Never once would I hear Kyle boast about his abilities. I’m sure, these good traits will guide him onward and upward.¨