More than three months after the Indian Creek girls basketball team’s regional final loss to Hinckley-Big Rock, senior Kate Thuestad still couldn’t talk about it.
The Timberwolves’ 46-45 overtime loss to their Route 30 rivals on the Royals’ home court was heartbreaking for an Indian Creek team that hasn’t won a regional title since 1998.
“I wish it would’ve gone our way,” Thuestad said. “It still replays in my head all the time, so I don’t think I’ll ever stop thinking, ‘This could’ve been different.’ ”
Before the season, Thuestad was unsure whether she would play. She had skipped basketball her junior year to focus on volleyball, the result of which was an offer to play at Loras College in Iowa. But with her future secure, Thuestad returned for a final run.
Basketball was just one part of a busy senior year for Thuestad. The three-sport star and class president also was a vital player for Indian Creek’s volleyball team and qualified for the state meet in track and field.
She was a Daily Chronicle All-Area second-team member in volleyball and basketball and earned all-area honorable mention in track. Thuestad also was named to the IHSA Academic All-State Team as an honorable mention selection.
For Thuestad’s accomplishments at Indian Creek, she is the 2013 Daily Chronicle Female Athlete of the Year. DeKalb senior Rachel Torres, Kaneland senior Allyson O’Herron and Hiawatha senior Dani Clark also were considered for the award.
“She’s been a joy to be around since I’ve known her back in middle school,” Indian Creek athletic director Ehren Mertz said. “One of the smartest and hardest working kids I’ve ever met in my life.”
Thuestad’s work ethic is what Indian Creek basketball coach Paul Muchmore said separates her from so many other high school athletes.
Her return to the hardwood helped Indian Creek to a 10-win improvement this year. Thuestad helped out at point guard and also played in the post for a young Indian Creek team that finished fourth in the Little Ten Conference.
“She’s respectful, so she gets that respect back,” Muchmore said. “She’s incredibly coachable, she’ll listen.”
Thuestad ended her Indian Creek athletic career by qualifying for the track and field state meet in the shot put last month and was one of six Timberwolves to make the trip to Charleston. It was a stark contrast to Thuestad’s sophomore year when she was the school’s lone qualifier.
“It was such a different experience this year and it was so much fun,” Thuestad said. “We watched Emily (Schilling) run and we saw her make it to finals. It was just a lot of fun this year.”
Thuestad plans to study something in the subjects of math and science at Loras, but has not declared a major.
Muchmore said her absence next year at Indian Creek certainly will be noticeable.
“I just can’t say enough about her,” Muchmore said. “On and off the court, just a great kid, easy to talk to, mature for her age. She’s going to be missed by all coaches, and I think by the whole school.”