Sports Spotlight: 'Bennysports' continues to lead
Senior three-sport athlete Ben Kohl, better known as ‘bennysports,’ has proven himself a vital player throughout his years at West. Playing varsity football, basketball, and baseball all four years, Kohl has excelled both athletically as well as being voted a FANS Club leader and member of the SAVE club for the class of 2018. This year Kohl has been recognized due to the new found success of the football team, something which he gives all of his teammates credit for.
“Everyone on the team has a responsibility and I just try to do whatever I can to help the team,” he said.
Kohl has not only been successful on the field, but has also proven to be an encouragement to his teammates both in their personal lives and during games. Senior Deante Jefferson, senior teammate of Kohl’s during the football season, admires this attitude.
“Blocking for him is a real honor; he really cares about everyone on the team, always has a smile on his face, and in his bad moments, he always finds ways to bring everyone together,” he said.
This football season is off to a better start than most, giving Kohl and the rest of the team the confidence boost that might not have been there in the previous years. Head football coach Ken Levine has worked with Kohl for three years now and has seen his growth from up close.
“One of the biggest factors to his growth and improvement is his knowledge of the offense and experience. Where in other years he may have forced a throw, this year he is making better decisions with the ball,” he said.
With this confidence, Kohl has been able to lead the team in a positive direction.
“We are playing much better as a team and it’s leading to wins. The team mentality has been fantastic and I think people are having fun and are excited to play, which translates to wins,” Kohl said.
Kohl not only has the physical ability but also the mental strength to be a successful athlete.
“Ben has good understanding of what his coach is thinking most of the time - not the scary stuff - just the football stuff,” Levine joked.
Bringing mental capacity and understanding to the game, Kohl’s abilities transfer into his year-round athletics. As winter rolls around, Kohl transfers his football abilities to playing basketball for the Wildcat varsity team. Senior Andrew Thiele, a teammate during the football and basketball seasons, has become close with Kohl throughout the years.
“Ben has always been a good teammate; he is always supportive to everyone on the team, and always someone you can trust on the court with you,” he said.
In the spring season, Kohl brings the same mentality to baseball games, playing shortstop for the West team. Brayden Ewing, senior teammate in both football and baseball, agrees with Jefferson’s view on Kohl’s positive attitude.
“Ben is always motivating everyone and he always looks at the positive side even when things go wrong,” he said.
Tony Gerharz, the head varsity baseball coach, has coached Kohl for the past three years, and admires his mentality as well.
“Being a three sport athlete for all four years of high school, he has had many different teammates and has the personality to interact positively with them all,” he said.
Gerharz noticed Kohl’s athletic excellence from the very start when he became Kohl’s coach during the student-athlete’s freshman year on the team - a rarity.
“Only three players have ever been starters as freshmen since I have been head coach for last 30 years, Ben being one of them,” Gerharz said..
With college around the corner, Kohl is unsure of where his future in sports and academics will take him, mainly because he is uncertain of when he’ll be ready.
“I’m not sure what I want to do after high school yet. I really like University of Wisconsin-Madison, but that would mean that I would be done playing sports and I don’t know if I’m ready to give that up yet,” he said. “I want to figure out what I want to do in college before I make any decisions about sports.”