Special K

Friars' Kaminski has the talent, makeup for greatness

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Melvin Tate

Contributing Columnist

This edition of "Tate's Take" focuses on a standout Fenwick High School sophomore who's already accomplished a ton athletically, with his best years assuredly ahead.

Recently, Fenwick has had several tremendous student-athletes grace its halls with the likes of Jacob Keller, Conner Lillig, Jamal Nixon, Grace Cronin, Mike Smith, Tricia Liston, Devereaux Peters and Mimi Schneider.

They all displayed individual brilliance while leading their team to success.

That tradition of excellence should continue for the foreseeable future.

Everyone knows about sophomore basketball star DJ Steward, but he has a classmate that's poised to leave a legacy as well - on the football field and the wrestling mat.

Riverside resident Jacob Kaminski had a very impressive freshman year. In fact, Steward and Kaminski shared the spotlight as signature breakout athletes for the Friars' Class of 2020.

 Kaminski was able to crack the Fenwick football varsity starting lineup as a stalwart on the defensive line. A force along the line of scrimmage at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, he played in all 13 games, recording 35 tackles and 7.5 sacks as the Friars enjoyed a memorable run to the Class 7A semifinals (only the third time in school history that the football team advanced that deep in the state playoffs).

Unfortunately, the "Travesty at Triton" occurred when Plainfield North defeated Fenwick 18-17 in overtime of the 7A semifinals. The officials incorrectly ruled on the last play of regulation in a game the Friars should have indisputably won before the play was even completed.

Nevertheless, the driven Kaminski shook off that brutal disappointment by transferring his energy to the wrestling mat. The precocious freshman compiled a 22-2 record at 195 pounds while winning Catholic League, regional, and sectional titles. He became the first freshman wrestler in school history to advance to the state finals and collected All-State accolades.

Kaminski was undefeated until the state semifinal, where he lost to eventual champion Jacob Warner of Washington. Yet even after losing that match and subsequently finishing fourth in the state, Kaminski established himself as a rising wrestling star with state title aspirations the next three seasons.

The success continued for Kaminski this summer. He traveled to Fargo, North Dakota to compete in the Cadet National tournament, which features many of the nation's top high school wrestlers.

Wrestling in both the Freestyle and Greco-Roman divisions, he placed third in each. Both of the losses - just like in the state finals - came at the hands of the eventual champions. Currently, Kaminski is ranked third nationally in the Cadet Division and is one of the top 20 wrestlers overall in the country.

The fact that Kaminski has had a very good start to his Fenwick career shouldn't come as a surprise. He comes from a family with a history of athletic success. Older sister Paulina was a state champion swimmer for the Friars and is now a successful senior swimmer at Yale. Younger brother Gabriel has earned his own accolades nationally in wrestling.

Based on previous articles I have read about Kaminski, it's apparent that he's very humble and highly motivated. Like any great athlete, he's always looking to do better and never content to just accept what he's accomplished so far.

I'm sure that he will enjoy another highly successful wrestling campaign, but first there's a bit of unfinished business on the football field to deal with for Kaminski and his teammates.

Kaminski is among several returnees defensively for Fenwick. The Friars are focused on building off last year's success and getting to the state finals in for the first time.

Regardless of the team's fortunes, Kaminski is already viewed as a high end college football prospect. With some colleges already expressing recruiting interest in Kaminski, more scholarships offers will come in both sports. Kaminski will have a difficult decision to make down the road about college.

Personally, I feel he has potential to play in the Big Ten, SEC and other major college football conferences. And that's written with full disclosure that wrestling is probably his best sport. No matter what he ultimately decides to do, Kaminski will be a success because he has the necessary drive and focus needed to excel.

Fenwick lines up against Bowen at Triton College on August 25 to kick off the 2017 football season.

Look for No. 45 on the defensive line. That's Jacob Kaminski; another Friar destined for greatness.

Reader Comments

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Marie Lillig from Bloomingdale   

Posted: August 8th, 2017 9:18 PM

Another incredible by one of my favorite contributing editors. Mr Tate ycaptures the greatness of every kid or team he writes about. Love "Tates Take". Keep up the great job!

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