Neuqua Valley’s Mark Mennecke, a three-sport athlete, has modified his uniform.
And never a lot else.
Simply weeks after hanging out eight and permitting simply two hits in a sectional semifinal recreation in baseball, Mennecke made his newest transition, this time to soccer.
“Bodily, I’m at all times in fairly good condition as a result of I by no means actually have an offseason,” he mentioned. “Mentally, it simply prepares me for no matter goes to occur subsequent.”
Tuesday night time at Naperville North, the three-year starter at quarterback was throwing darts all around the discipline in opposition to defending Class 8A state champion Lockport throughout a 7-on-7.
“Proper now, I’m simply engaged on my mechanics and getting a greater really feel for my new receivers,” Mennecke mentioned.
Simply days after taking part in his ultimate baseball recreation of the spring, Mennecke took half in particular faculty camps earlier this month at Lindenwood and Northwestern.
The platform offered one other alternative for the 6-foot-1, 205-pound star to point out off his versatile recreation.
“These camps are actually necessary to get some publicity with the school coaches,” he mentioned.
Dayton has requested him to return right down to its campus to work out for the coaches. He additionally has acquired recruiting curiosity from Illinois State, Indianapolis and Minnesota State.
Final season as a junior, Mennecke directed Neuqua (10-2) to the 8A state quarterfinals whereas accounting for 22 touchdowns.
Mennecke accomplished 90 of 157 passes for 1,750 yards and 16 TDs. He additionally rushed for 562 yards and 6 TDs, incomes all-conference and all-area honors.
He has at all times excelled along with his footwork, stability and skill to improvise. He could make performs both contained in the pocket or on the transfer.
“As a quarterback, his finest qualities are being an final competitor and his high-level playmaking abilities,” Naperville North coach Sean Drendel mentioned. “At occasions, he’s a magician on the sector. He’s very powerful to arrange for.”
Metea Valley coach John Parpet mentioned Mennecke exudes confidence. His standing as a multisport athlete offers Mennecke a pure management and cachet.
“Initially, he’s a competitor,” Parpet mentioned. “He’s a throwback athlete who makes everybody round him higher.”
As an athlete for all seasons, Mennecke is intuitively accustomed to being on the middle of the motion.
In basketball, regardless of coping with a bout of mononucleosis that restricted him in the course of the second half of the season, he operated as some extent ahead. The Wildcats’ offense ran by means of him.
As a pitcher in baseball, he additionally thrived beneath the stress.
“My dad and mom would say I’ve at all times had this aggressive aspect,” Mennecke mentioned. “I simply love the duty and being the one who’s at all times in charge of the motion.”
His soccer position additionally has shifted over time.
When he took over because the beginning quarterback within the pandemic spring season, Mennecke was the newcomer surrounded by veteran expertise in 2021.
Now, he’s the chief.
“We have now numerous youthful guys and numerous expertise,” he mentioned. “After we get on the identical web page, we’re going to be a high-powered offense.
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“There’s at all times nonetheless studying happening, however my position is being a pacesetter for these youthful guys, retaining the power up and serving to us win as a staff.”
Mennecke even labored because the emergency backup punter final season after Western Michigan recruit Palmer Domschke was sidelined.
“You by no means know what he may pull off,” Drendel mentioned.
Casting his three-sport versatility apart, Mennecke has been concentrating solely on ending summer time soccer camp with the Wildcats.
“Every little thing has flown by and gone manner too quick,” he mentioned. “However I’m excited for my senior season.
“I simply need to win.”
Patrick Z. McGavin is a contract reporter for the Naperville Solar.