DARKE COUNTY – A pair of seniors who have helped lead their teams to big wins this season are this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Franklin Monroe volleyball player Makenzie Kreitzer and Mississinawa Valley football player Nate Gladdish.
Gladdish helped lead Mississinawa Valley to a 21-6 win against Bradford last week, which snapped a losing streak that spanned three full seasons.
“He was just everywhere,” Mississinawa Valley football coach Mike Griffin said. “He does a little of everything for us.”
Gladdish ran 27 times for 130 yards and a touchdown, and he caught five passes for 35 yards against Bradford. He also made six tackles and recovered a fumble.
“He played with as much guts as you can,” Griffin said. “He was completely utterly exhausted.”
Usually Gladdish gets a break on special teams, but against Bradford even was on a kickoff to help the Blackhawks maintain their lead. At the end of the night, despite being exhausted, he still was hitting hard and made a key tackle for a loss late in the game.
“He probably hit that kid as hard as he hit anybody all night,” Griffin said.
This season Gladdish leads Darke County with 36 tackles and is third in the county with 233 rushing yards, both of which are team highs. He’s second on his team and third in the county with 11 receptions.
The Mississinawa Valley senior also has become a leader for the Blackhawks.
“He’s our emotional leader,” Griffin said. “He gets everybody fired up and ready to play. I don’t even give rah-rah speeches anymore. I leave that to him.”
Kreitzer helped lead Franklin Monroe to eight consecutive wins to begin the season, a stretch that included a championship in the Greenville Federal Volleyball Invitational and four Cross County Conference victories. The strong start earned the Jets the No. 17 ranking in the Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association Division IV state poll.
“A leader off and on the court, the girls look up to her, and she doesn’t take that responsibility lightly,” Franklin Monroe volleyball coach Angie Filbrun said. “I’m very proud of the way she leads her team.”
Kreitzer leads Franklin Monroe and is sixth in Darke County with 70 kills this season. The FM senior also is second on her team with three blocks, third with 66 digs and fourth with eight aces.
“Makenzie has been playing very well this year,” Filbrun said. “She is a very well-rounded player. We can always count on her to come through for us in tough situations.”
Kreitzer, who plans to continue her volleyball career in college, holds Franklin Monroe’s career digs record.
“Makenzie is a key back row player for us and has been for her whole high school career,” Filbrun said. “As a freshman she played libero for us. She broke our school record for most digs in a season that year with 311. In her junior year she broke her own record with 327 digs. This has helped her to break the digs in a career school record as well.”