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Top 5 Male Athletes 2015-16: No. 4, Jarod Wierengo

Josh VanDyke • Updated Jul 14, 2016 at 12:21 AM

The Tribune is counting down its top five teams, male and female athletes of the 2015-16 school year. The No. 4 male athlete on our list, Jarod Wierengo, is a three-sport standout for Fruitport High School. Wierengo used his athleticism, hand-eye coordination and strength to be a key player on the Trojans’ football, basketball and baseball squads this past year.

Football

Wierengo was a two-year starter at quarterback for the Trojans, leading the team to back-to-back victories over rival Spring Lake in his time as signal caller. The 6-foot-2, 187 pound dual-threat athlete rushed for more than 700 yards (13 touchdowns) and passed for 800 more and (seven touchdowns) during the 2015 season and earned First-Team All-Conference and First Team All-Area selections.

Fruitport head football coach Greg Vargas on Wierengo’s growth: “Between his junior and senior year there was (a) tremendous amount of growth as a leader. He wanted to be a good leader for his teammates, and he worked hard every day at practice so he could lead by example and not just vocally.

“He prepares so hard at every sport he plays that it’s impossible for him not to be successful at it. He’s a gym rat. He wants to win, and he goes 100 miles per hour whether it’s at practice or in a game. I think that’s what helps separate him in terms of being a good player and being a great player for us.”

On Wierengo’s personality: “He’s a great kid to be around. He likes to keep things light, but when he steps onto the field on game day, there’s always an edge to him. He never gets discouraged, either. We’ve lost a few tough games over the past two seasons, but he hasn’t wavered at all. He still brings the same amount of energy to every practice, and that just shows you the level of maturity he has.”

On what makes Wierengo such a good football player: “In our scheme, we ask him to make all the right reads. He is able to dissect a play very quickly, make the right decision on the fly, and he has the athleticism to make teams pay if they don’t wrap him up. He’s a big kid, too. He can take off quickly and has good vision when he’s in the open field.

Favorite moment coaching Wierengo: “I will see forever in my mind a couple of plays against Muskegon Catholic Central this past fall where he took the ball right up the middle of the defense for big plays. We weren’t able to close that game out, but that was probably one of the best games of his career and it was against a high-quality team in MCC.”

On Wierengo’s accolades: “He earned All-Conference honors over MCC’s quarterback (Christian Martinez), and he was also named to the All-Area team as well. It speaks to the kids in our program that we are on par with schools like Mona Shores, Grand Haven and MCC in terms of being recognized as some of the best players in the area, and Jarod is a perfect example of that.

“He’s one of my all-time favorites as a coach, and he’s easily in my top 10 as far as talent.”

 

Basketball

Wierengo started every game his junior and senior year for the Trojans’ basketball team. He finished second on the team is scoring this past winter.

Fruitport assistant boys varsity basketball coach Chad Brandow on Wierengo:

“Jarod was probably our best all-around athlete on the team. He was our second leading scorer and he started every game his junior and senior year. His hand-eye coordination is unbelievable. He’s a great kid on top of that.

“His athleticism made him a great basketball player. He’s strong, jumps well, and he wasn’t afraid of contact. We asked him to be more of an offensive threat than a defensive shutdown guy, but he could do both well. He always rebounded well and always put himself in a good position on both sides of the court.”

On what he enjoyed most about coaching Wierengo: “He was a good shooter and he came to work every day. He played through pain constantly this past season. At the beginning of the season, his feet got awful blisters. The entire soles of his feet were peeling off at one point and we tried to talk him into sitting out a few practices until they were fully healed. He (didn’t) want any of that, and didn’t end up missing a single practice. That was amazing to me.

“His dedication was big to me, too. He worked hard every day, even when we weren’t winning all the time. He’s a tough kid, who never made excuses and was a consummate team player.”

Baseball

Wierengo was a three-year varsity starter for the Trojans’ baseball team at catcher. He totaled 71 RBIs, 44 stolen bases and batted over .400 for his varsity career from the plate.

Wierengo was a first team All-State selection this past spring and will continue his baseball career at Muskegon Community College.

Fruitport varsity baseball coach Nick Reed on Wierengo:

“He is an extremely hard worker. The amount of time he puts in heading into the baseball season as far as playing two other sports is unprecedented. He’s one the best players I’ve ever coached.”

On what makes Wierengo a special baseball player: “He’s coachable, and he’s able to adjust to things on the fly. He blocks well from his catcher position, and he has tremendous footwork to pair with a great arm. He didn’t get tested much on the base paths because a lot of schools knew how good he is at it, but when he was tested, he usually won that battle.”

On what Wierengo improved on the most during his varsity career: “He’s always been a great hitter, but he made tremendous strides this last year in terms of patience at the plate. His pitch selection and plate vision really improved, and that led to more extra base hits and home runs.”

Favorite moment coaching Wierengo: “It would have to be districts his sophomore year. He was batting leadoff for us and he was 0-for-3 on the day. In his last at-bat, he hit a double against Coopersville when the game was tied at two. He went on to steal third base, and then came around on a sac fly after that to win the game. We went on to beat Spring Lake in the finals for a district title and that probably wouldn’t have happened without his play in the clutch.”

On Wierengo as a person: “As much as we’ll miss him as a player next year, we’ll miss him more as a leader and a teammate. He and the other seniors on the team really helped everyone mesh, which is hard to do when you have kids on the team that are underclassmen mixing with older kids.

“As great as he is an athlete and a baseball player, he’s even better person.”

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