2016-'17 Season Coverage
updated: 6/9/2017 11:47 PM

Geneva's Loberg wins Fox Valley Female Athlete of the Year

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  • Geneva's Grace Loberg, pictured with the Class 4A girls basketball state championship trophy at a school pep rally in March, is the Fox Valley Female Athlete of the Year.

      Geneva's Grace Loberg, pictured with the Class 4A girls basketball state championship trophy at a school pep rally in March, is the Fox Valley Female Athlete of the Year.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Geneva's Grace Loberg battles Edwardsville's Criste'on Waters under the basket in the first quarter of the Class 4A Title game in Normal on Saturday.

      Geneva's Grace Loberg battles Edwardsville's Criste'on Waters under the basket in the first quarter of the Class 4A Title game in Normal on Saturday.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Geneva's Grace Loberg made the Daily Herald All-Area volleyball and basketball teams all four years for both sports, capping her high school career beating Edwardsville, right, in the Class 4A girls basketball state championship game.

    Geneva's Grace Loberg made the Daily Herald All-Area volleyball and basketball teams all four years for both sports, capping her high school career beating Edwardsville, right, in the Class 4A girls basketball state championship game.
    Daily Herald file photos

 
 

She's a four-year All-Area basketball selection who led her team to two trips to state including this year's improbable, unforgettable last-second victory over Edwardsville in the state championship game.

She set a Geneva record with a 1,090 career rebounds while also scoring 1,516 career points -- leading the Vikings in scoring and rebounding in both games at state, along with supersectional and sectional victories before that.

She's easily one of the best to ever play basketball at Geneva and in the Fox Valley, a dominating 6-foot-2 presence inside who grabbed one tough rebound after another, shut down the opposition's inside game, and also was a skilled passer and oftentimes the Vikings' best offensive option.

It's impressive enough Grace Loberg did all that. The fact she did it in her second best sport is truly remarkable.

Loberg, headed to Wisconsin to play volleyball, got Geneva within a whisker of making it to state in that sport as well. The Vikings lost in three tight sets last fall to eventual state champion Mother McAuley in the supersectionals.

Loberg is the Daily Herald Female Athlete of the Year, winning the award for the second straight year. She made eight Daily Herald All-Area teams -- going a perfect 4-for-4 in both sports.

"Grace has grown tremendously over the past four years," Geneva volleyball coach Annie Seitelman said. "Her will to win, drive to get better, and tenacity on the court are reasons for Grace's success. She has an ability to push her teammates to be better, as well as herself. She is a student of the game of volleyball and her career has just only begun."

Loberg, who carries a 3.47 GPA, will be remembered not just for the unprecedented heights she and her teams reached on the court, but the sacrifices she made to play two sports. So many others in her shoes would drop basketball and focus on their future college sport.

But Loberg bucked that trend, even though it meant many excruciating long days of school, both basketball and club volleyball practices, and homework after all that. Or weekends when she would sandwich in a key Geneva basketball game around playing four or five club volleyball games.

And because Loberg chose to do that, and played basketball at such a high level, the Vikings have a big state championship trophy proudly displayed at the school that wouldn't be there otherwise.

"She decided to play and compete at a very high level in two sports while in high school," Geneva basketball coach Sarah Meadows said. "She made sacrifices to do this, that other student-athletes would never think to do or have the desire to do."

Meadows said all the success didn't change Loberg one bit.

"Grace does things the right way," Meadows said. "With all of the success Grace has achieved she has remained humble. She never takes herself too seriously. She is as coachable as they come and is a student-athlete every coach dreams to have on their team. Her talent, attitude, heart and leadership set her apart from the rest."

Meadows and Seitelman both praised Loberg's accomplishments off the court. They include volunteering at Feed My Starving Children, volunteering at Holmstad in Batavia, raising money for Christmas presents for families in need, cancer fundraisers, and working at youth basketball and volleyball camps.

"Grace is one of those players that lets her play do all the talking," Seitelman said. "But captain, teammate, leader, and friend are words that represent what Grace is off of the court."

When the 2017-18 school year rolls around, there's going to be some big shoes to fill at Geneva -- on both the volleyball and basketball courts.

"She has left her mark on Geneva and the Tri-Cities," Meadows said. "I have said before and I will say again -- I am not sure when another Grace Loberg will come around again. She is a very special athlete but more importantly a very special kid."

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