Naperville Sports Weekly Awards Show 2024 Male Athlete of the Year

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The Naperville Sports Weekly Male Athlete of the Year Award showcases five local athletes who all played multiple sports. The winner is determined by voting from our staff.

Patrick Codo gives us the nominees for the Naperville Sports Weekly Male Athlete of the Year sponsored by BMO.

Naperville North’s Luke Williams 

We start our Male Athlete of the Year list with the 2023 winner of this award, Luke Williams. A four-year varsity standout of the Naperville North football and boys basketball team. On the gridiron, Williams made major contributions on both sides of the ball racking up 66 tackles, six interceptions as a defensive back to go with 50 catches for 565 yards, and five touchdowns as a wide receiver, helping North to another 8A playoff appearance. He earned a second straight All-State selection, and was named DVC Co-defensive Player of the Year.

On the hardwood, Williams averaged 14 points, four boards, and almost three assists per game for the Huskies. Despite his career coming to an end midway through the season due to surgery on his labrum, that did not prevent him from earning an All-DVC and IBCA 4A All-State special mention. Williams will focus his attention on football at the collegiate level at Purdue University this fall. 

Naperville Central’s Maverick Ohle

Naperville Central senior Maverick Ohle is up next, a man among boys who gave opposing quarterbacks nightmares on the football field before chucking the shot put or discus for the track and field team. In the fall Ohle piled up 63 tackles, 10 for loss, five sacks, and a fumble recovery. The future Ohio Bobcat received an All-State selection, and co-defensive Player of the Year, and Lineman of the Year in the DVC.

On the track and field season side, Ohle won the shot put at indoor and outdoor DVC championships and for the first time, won the sectional title in the event. He also took first at the outdoor DVC meet and at sectionals for discus. While he was not able to repeat as state champion in the event, he did earn another top-12 finish to wrap up his career, before heading to play football at Ohio University this fall.

Neuqua Valley’s Zac Close

Staying on the track with Neuqua Valley senior distance runner Zac Close. During the cross country season, Close took first place in the DVC and regional meets, along with a runner-up finish at sectionals. He then went on to finish in 6th place at the state meet at Detweiler Park.

His performances were just as consistent for the track team in the spring, where he ran his way to a 3rd place finish in the mile at the outdoor DVC championship. He saved his best for the final weeks of the season, winning the sectional championship in the 3200, helping the Wildcats win the team sectional title. At the state meet at Eastern Illinois, Close finished his decorated running career with a fourth place medal in the 3200.

Waubonsie Valley’s Owen Roberts 

Next up is Waubonsie Valley two-sport athlete Owen Roberts who spends his athletic career as a defensive back in the fall, and dominating the baseball diamond in the spring. As a junior this fall, Roberts earned an all-DVC honorable mention selection as a defensive back, helping the Warriors improve from zero wins in 2022 to four victories this fall.

It was with the baseball team this spring where Roberts fully hit his stride. As the DVC Player of the Year and the DVC Pitcher of the Year, the junior led the green and gold to 25 wins, going 10-0 on the mound with a 1.10 ERA and 73 strikeouts in just 57 innings. His final start of the season was one to remember, tossing a no-hitter against Plainfield North to help the Warriors to their first sectional championship appearance since 2005. He also hit .452 with four home runs and a 1.265 OPS at the plate, with a walk off single to win the regional championship over Hinsdale CentralWith his senior year on the horizon, the Warriors are excited to see what Roberts will bring to the table for his final season on the football and baseball field. 

Naperville North’s Mason Hofmann

We finish up with another junior in Mason Hofmann for the Naperville North boys swimming and water polo teams. Hofmann had a strong winter, qualifying for state in the 200-medley relay and 100-yard backstroke for the blue and orange.

But water polo is the main entree for this two-sport star once the spring hits. After stellar freshman and sophomore seasons, Hoffmann took charge by throwing in 130 goals and 55 assists to lead the Huskies in both categories. Naperville North brought home a state trophy for the first time since 2014, finishing the season in third place in addition to the DVC and sectional titles. Hofmann was named first team All-State for his efforts and along with fellow All-State selection Jack Reif, Hofmann and his teammates have a great chance at another trip to state next season.

Owen Roberts earns the Naperville Sports Weekly Male Athlete of the Year

After a strong year in football and a dominating season on the diamond, Owen Roberts earns the NSW Male Athlete of the Year!

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