Landgraf, Dreher named Athletes of the Week

Published 5:33 am Thursday, October 21, 2004

By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
Two Niles High School athletes won the Niles Daily Star Athlete of the Week awards for Oct. 10-16 for clutch performances under pressure.
The boys winner, senior golfer Ben Landgraf, put forth one of the best efforts of his career in one of the most pressure-packed moments. Landgraf won the Michigan High School Athletic Association's Division 2 state golf championship by one-stroke Saturday.
The girls' winner, junior Sarah Dreher, had a personal best when her team needed her the most. Dreher averaged 22.5 points in two games last week in the absence of one of the Vikings' best shooters and top scorers.
Landgraf went to Friday and Saturday's state finals with the goal of finishing in the Top 10, something he and Niles' golf coach Greg Gunder though was a realistic possibility.
Landgraf started the finals by shooting one of his best scores ever in Friday's first round. His one-under-par 71 tied him for the lead.
Saturday's final round was plagued by wind, rain and cold. Landgraf shot a seven-over 79, but it was good enough for a one-stroke victory and a state championship.
Gunder said Landgraf didn't realize how great an accomplishment the championship was until they got back to Niles from the tournament in Allentown.
Landgraf became Niles' first ever individual state golf champion. The Vikings won the crown as a team in 1964.
Dreher led the Vikings in scoring in two games last week, scoring 17 points against Battle Creek Lakeview and a career-high 28 against Kalamazoo Central.
Her performance, especially her scoring, was desperately needed, as Niles was without the school's all-time leading 3-point shooter Brandie Radde, who was sidelined with an ankle injury.
Dreher said she felt pressure to score without Radde's 17 points per game, but that she adjusted well and just played as hard as she could.
Her 28-point performance was the third time this season she has set a career-high for herself.
While Niles head coach Jim Arnold appreciated the points, he said he sees Dreher, a forward and one of the tallest Vikings, as more of a rebounder than a scorer. Dreher said she needs to do both.
Each week, the athletics directors from Niles, Brandywine and Buchanan nominate players for the Athlete of the Week.
The sports editor of the Niles Daily Star then selects a boys' and girls' winner for each week.
Each senior winner will be eligible to apply for the scholarship at the end of the school year. Each week's winners will also receive a month's subscription to the newspaper of the community they represent.
In April, each senior Athlete of the Week winner from all three sports seasons will submit an application for the scholarship.
Leader Publications will then select a boys' and girls' Athlete of the Year from either Niles, Brandywine or Buchanan.
The two athletes will receive a scholarship for an as yet to be determined amount. The winners will be named in May.
Questions regarding the Athlete of the Year scholarships can be directed to Mary Cooper at 687-7732 or Daily Star sports editor Adam Fisher at 687-7703.