April 25, 2013

Shidler is a 3-sport star for the Warriors

by Beau Wicker

— Winamac senior Zach Shidler just completed a basketball career for the Warriors where he started at point guard in every game of his four-year career and averaged a career-high 16 points per game this past season.

In football, he led the Warriors to their first sectional title since 2000 and third overall as the starting quarterback. He was recently selected to the Indiana North All-Star team.

Shidler’s standout athletic career at Winamac is not over just yet. He’s also a standout in baseball, which he actually considers his best sport.

He’s going to attend Ball State University, where he plans to attempt to walk on to the baseball team.

The Warriors’ baseball team is very young this season under first-year coach Tony Carroll. The Warriors defeated rival North Judson, 6-5, earlier this week, but they’re off to a 2-9 start to the season.

“Right now it’s not going so well, but I feel like we’re improving every day,” said Shidler, who plays shortstop and pitches for the Warriors. “We’re young, so of course you make mistakes when you’re young. We’ve got to keep our heads in it and we’ll be all right.”

Winamac boys basketball coach Kyle Johnson said Shidler was “the heart” of the team this winter. The Warriors went 10-13 after heavy losses to graduation from teams that went 14-8 and 12-11 the previous two seasons.

“I thought we had a pretty good season,” Shidler said. “We made the championship round of the sectional and that’s always good. We weren’t able to go as far as we would have liked, but we had a very good season. It was up and down with a young team. Next year they’ll be pretty good. They’ll have a good season next year.”

The Warriors were also young in football, but that didn’t stop them from going 9-4 and winning the sectional title. They avenged a 49-7 loss to West Central with a 49-13 win over the Trojans in the sectional final.

“The sectional championship was the funnest time I’ve ever had playing sports,” Shidler said. “When we won we were running around like little kids. In the future, I’ll always look back that we beat our arch rivals on their home field after they stomped us earlier in the season.”

In football, Shidler passed for 1,171 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for 874 yards and 15 touchdowns this past season. He averaged 7.8 yards per carry and 20.5 yards per completion. He added four interceptions on defense and earned all-state recognition as a punter.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder will play in the slot as a wide receiver for the North All-Stars according to Winamac coach Tim Roth, who was selected to be the head coach for the North squad.

Shidler said he’s happy to play one more game with Roth as his coach.

“Playing for him for four years was great. I learned a ton from him,” he said. “Playing for him one more time, even though it’s not for the Maroon and White, is a very special thing. I’m glad he’s coaching the team.”

The All-Star Classic will be played on July 19 at North Central High School in Indianapolis.

“I feel very privileged to be selected to play with all the great players playing in this game,” Shidler said. “I’m the 11th one out of Winamac, and I’ve heard a lot about the other 10 players and they were all great players. It’s a privilege to be one of them. I have to credit my teammates. I wouldn’t have gotten this far without my teammates pushing me and what they’ve done for me.”

The following is a question-and-answer session with Shidler.

Q. Of the sports you play, which is your favorite? Why?

A. Baseball. It’s the one I feel I’m best at and the one I’ve always enjoyed the most.

Q. How did you first get started in sports? At what age?

A. With two older brothers, I’ve always been around sports. I was on my first sports team at the age of 5.

Q. Do you have any family members who played sports?

A. My dad, Kirk, and my two older brothers, Wade and Nathan, all played basketball and baseball in high school.

Q. How do you feel you’ve improved as an athlete since you first started playing?

A. I’ve become more of a verbal player. Being captain of the three sports has improved my communication and leadership skills.

Q. Who do you consider your biggest role model? Why?

A. My parents, Kirk and Karen. They raised three boys and were always supportive of our athletics and other activities.

Q. What experiences have you had in sports have made you the athlete you are today?

A. Having unsuccessful seasons during my early sports years made me more determined to try harder, get stronger and always play to the best of my ability.

Q. What is something that not everyone knows about you?

A. When I was less than a month old, I had part of my lung removed.

Q. What is your favorite memory of playing sports at your school?

A. Winning the 2012 football sectional against rival West Central on their home field.

Q. What’s your favorite music, movie, TV show, etc.?

A. Music: My Moment by DJ Drama. Movie: Friday Night Lights. TV show: SportsCenter. Team: Notre Dame.

Q. Who is the best athlete in your respective sport you’ve ever gone up against?

A. Riley Benner from Tri-County. Playing against him all four years in the conference, he’s a very impressive three-sport athlete.

Q. What are your goals for your future? Do you plan on attending college?

A. I plan on attending Ball State University to major in sports management.

Each week during the school year the Pharos-Tribune recognizes an athlete from one of five area high schools. The recipients are selected by each school’s athletic department.