The Jan. 4 issue of the Independent includes feature stories on the newspaper’s coach and male and female athletes of the year by Chris Bennett, sports correspondent. Below is a portion of what’s included – pick up a copy of the paper for the rest – on stands now!


Reynolds wraps dream season

Energetic coach leads Elks to best performance in school history

The 2016-17 season might be remembered as the most successful season in the history of Elkhorn Area High School wrestling, and that is why coach Ken Reynolds is the Elkhorn Independent’s Coach of the Year for 2017.

When informed of the honor, Reynolds immediately deflected credit elsewhere.

“I’ve been fortunate to get these athletes through here the last five, six, seven years,” Reynolds said. “I’ve just been really fortunate.”

Reynolds graduated from Elkhorn Area High School in 1980. He started wrestling at Elkhorn Middle School in 1974. He took over the Elks’ high school wrestling program 20 years ago after coaching the youth program for 10 years.


Benji’s Peak

Elkhorn wrestler captured state title, moved to Michigan to further athletic career

This year’s recipient of the Elkhorn Independent’s Male Athlete of the Year Award could be going to Elkhorn Area High School, but is not.

After winning a WIAA Division 1 State Individual Wrestling title last spring at 126 pounds, Benji Peak – then a member of the Elks – took a hard look at his future.

He’d won a state title, and saw there was little else to do in high school wrestling. It was time for the Olympics.

Benji Peak is a master at technical wrestling, and his ability to read his opponent at the state tournament in February led to victory. (FILE PHOTO)


In control on the court

Richardson advanced to state tennis, working on mental game and a return trip

One wonders if Gabby Richardson might start keeping a copy of “The Serenity Prayer” in her tennis bag.

The Elkhorn Area High School junior is the Elkhorn Independent’s Female Athlete of the Year for 2017 after advancing to the WIAA Division 1 Girls State Individual Tennis Tournament last fall.

After the match, Richardson candidly and gracefully admitted she struggled to keep the crowd, the atmosphere and her emotions in check, and lost her first and only match at state.


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