BELOIT—Drew Ries has played his final game in a Beloit Turner uniform.
His athletic career, however, is far from over.
Ries will play baseball at UW-Stout after an outstanding career as a three-sport athlete for the Trojans.
Ries was the second-leading tackler as a hard-nosed linebacker. He didn’t miss a beat transferring to the wrestling mat, where he finished fifth in state at 195 pounds and was the Beloit Daily News All-Area Wrestler of the Year.
And he certainly was planning on once again being a key cog in the Trojans’ 2020 baseball squad, which was once again expected to compete for a spot at or near the top of the Rock Valley Conference.
Ries said he never put much thought into being a three-sport star.
“I didn’t sit around and think about it,” Ries said. “I just knew that at the end of every season, I wanted more. We’d have about a week off between seasons, and I would just go home after school and be bored. Sports gave me something to do every day. I was someone who had a lot of fun every day at practice. I didn’t view it like it was work.”
It should be no surprise that Ries excelled both on the mound and at the plate. Turner coach Jeff Clowes said Ries was critical in the teams’ success.
“Drew is one of those kids that I’ve known since he was a little kid,” Clowes said. “Matt used to coach JV for me, and I really enjoyed having him in the program. His freshman year he missed the season, but we still brought him along on the trip up to state because we realized what an important piece he was going to be in the future and we wanted him to have a taste of what it was like.”
Clowes appreciated the ability to utilize Ries in a number of roles.
“He’s a versatile player,” Ries said. “For a lot of teams, he would have been a starting pitcher for the last two years. With guys like Preston Viens and Cory Walker, we felt like he would be better used as a closer, and he’s made a huge impact in that role.
“Offensively, I think he was the unluckiest hitter in the state last year. He hit almost .400 and he lined out 15 or 17 times. He’s a heck of a ballplayer that’s going to do really well at UW-Stout. He really set the tempo and came in every day with a lot of energy.”
Ries said he was looking forward to enhancing his leadership role this year.
“We have a really good freshman class coming in,” Ries said. “And coach Clowes talked a lot about how it was going to be the job of the seniors to lead them and show them how we do things. I was really excited to do that. It definitely makes it easier that I’m going to keep playing, but I feel terrible for the seniors who aren’t going to keep playing. This was their last chance.”
While his individual accomplishments speak for themselves, Ries said it’s the team camaradarie he will miss the most.
“My freshman year football team, we had a lot of groups and didn’t work well together as a team,” Ries said. “After that, every team I played on was all about team. You might not talk to people for the entire year, but when you get to play on the same team as them, for that time they become your best friends. It’s great because it just allows different people to come in and out of your life.”