LANSING | Illiana Christian boys track coach Jeff White calls him one of the best all-around athletes he has coached.
Senior Joel Ooms is a three-sport athlete and much more. He excels in soccer, basketball and track, but also in the classroom and in other extra-curricular activities.
"He is what a student-athlete should be," White said. "He is involved in just about everything at the school and he is a tremendous hurdler as well."
Ooms will make his third straight trip to the Class 2A state meet in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles. The senior knows it is his last hurrah. He has the 13th-best sectional time (39.95 seconds). The top nine places earn medals.
"I am just going to push myself all out because it is my last time down there," Ooms said. "I have been down here and I have the experience. I know it will be tough, but I really want to finish in the top nine."
Ooms said he loves being a three-sport athlete and feels each sport has contributed to his growth.
"I have to play three sports," Ooms said. "I could not specialize. Each sport is a different challenge, but I love challenges."
White said he will have accumulated the second-most career track points of an Illiana track and field athlete.
"He is just a tremendous kid, always looking to get better," White said. "One of the best kids I have ever coached."
Athletes talk about time management, especially when balancing between academics and athletics. He also has a little longer commute than most students. Ooms drives an hour to school as he lives in DeMotte. He spends a lot of time listening to traffic reports on radio stations WGN and WBBM.
"It's not that bad of a drive," he said. "I take I-65 and 80/94 (Borman Expressway). You get home and do your school work and get to bed. You get up early and get ready for school."
It is also being four years on the student council and working on various projects like a school blood drive or working with the student council to put together a school-wide cookout.
"I think being involved makes you a better, complete person," Ooms said. "I put a priority on academics because that is important to me."