Ken Naylor, of Rich East
Updated: February 8, 2013 6:13AM
This week we shine the spotlight on: Rich East wrestler Kenneth Naylor; Shepard swimmer Tommy Eyer; and bowlers Charity Bickom, of T.F. South, and Ken VandeWerken, of Oak Lawn.
Sr., Wrestling, Rich East
According to Naylor, a three-sport athlete for the Rockets, football and track and field can’t quite compare with the grittiness and determination found on the mat.
“Wrestling is like no other sport,” Naylor said. “It’s the toughest sport in the world, I believe. Not only does it help physical conditioning and strength, it helps with your mental strength.”
Naylor made headway this season with a 160-pound championship at the 15-team Rich East Rocket Invitational.
Sr., Swimming, Shepard
“This was the sport my parents made all the kids in my family do, so if we ever went to a water park or to a friend’s house to swim they always knew we were safe,” Eyer said.
Eyer switched to soccer when he was 10 years old, but returned to swimming last season and helped Shepard win the South Suburban Red meet.
“I’ll always love the sport,” said Eyer, who swims butterfly.
Sr., Bowling, T.F. South
Bickom has been a key as T.F. South has established itself as a potential state qualifier by winning the Rich East Invitational and qualifying for the Gold Division at the Plainfield North Strikefest.
“I want us to place at (the South Suburban Blue meet) and sectionals, because we didn’t last season,” Bickom said. “Hopefully, we can go to state.”
Bickom has bowled regularly since she was 5.
“It’s a family thing on my dad’s side of the family,” she said.
Sr., Bowling, Oak Lawn
VandeWerken has helped the Spartans advance to state the last two seasons, part of a run of eight state appearances in 10 years.
Now he sees himself as one of the veteran leaders for Oak Lawn.
“It helps to have a lot of experience,” he said. “I know what to expect in big tournaments. I just want to keep improving and hopefully bowl in college.”
VandeWerken tossed a two-game 730 series in a win over T.F. South this year.