Kyle Cody of McDonell Central has been selected as the 2011-12 recipient of the Pat Richter Award presented by WisSports.net as the Triple Play Triple Threat Male Athlete of the Year.
The Triple Play Triple Threat of the Week is an honor given on WisSports.net to the top senior boys and girls three-sport athletes in the state and is sponsored by the local community telephone companies of Wisconsin. At the end of the school year, those awarded with the weekly honor are eligible for the Pat Richter Award, which will go out to the top boys and girls three-sport athlete of the season.
Hugh V. "Pat" Richter is one of Wisconsin's most storied student-athletes in state history. He was a three-sport athlete at Madison East High School, competing in football, basketball and baseball. He went on to fame at the University of Wisconsin, earning nine varsity letters in three sports and would later become the Athletic Director at Wisconsin.
Past winners of the award include Hank Kujak of Blair-Taylor (2010-11) and Donnie Hissa of Northwestern (2009-10).
Four trips to WIAA State Tournaments, Five First-Team All-Conference selections, state football records...the litany of awards and accomplishments for Cody goes on and on.
But which was his favorite sport?
"I like baseball the best because I think I'm the best at it," he said. "I think I have a future in that sport."
That future is the University of Kentucky, where he has signed a baseball scholarship with the Wildcats. He was also drafted in the 33rd Round of the June MLB Draft, but will put his professional dreams on hold for now to attend college.
Blessed with a 90-plus mile per hour fastball as one of the state's top pitchers, Cody almost gave up on the sport early in high school.
"Going into my sophomore year I was thinking about playing golf instead of baseball because of a bad experience, but I decided to play it out, and now looking back, I'm thinking it was a good thing."
Cody has continued to see the benefits of participating in multiple sports during his high school career.
"Playing three sports has kept me in shape. I was always doing something, I was never just sitting at home doing nothing. The most important thing though is that each sport strengthens a different area of your body that you need to excel at a higher level."
The high level of success began right away for Cody, who played defensive end as a freshman when the Macks advanced to the Division 7 football state title game.
As a junior he took over the reins of the team's high-powered passing attack, earning First Team All-Conference recognition after throwing for 2218 yards and 21 touchdowns. He continued that success into his senior year of football where he led the state in passing yards during the regular season with 2604 while also tossing 26 scores.
In a Week 7 shootout loss to Owen-Withee by a final score of 71-46, Cody entered the state record books, completing 25 of 53 passes for 516 yards and 7 touchdowns. The yardage total places him sixth on the all-time single game list, while the 7 scores ties him for the most in state history. He again earned First Team all-league honors as a senior.
While the McDonell baseball team advanced to state when he was a freshman, he was not on the roster due to a broken wrist. The Macks would return to state the next two years as Cody started the 2010 state title game against Catholic Central, a game they came up short in, as well as the 2011 state semi-final win over Barneveld as the team took home three straight runner-up trophies.
Cody helped McDonell to a share of the Cloverbelt-West title as a senior, earning First Team All-Conference recognition for the second straight year. He was also a Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association Second Team All-State pick, going 6-0 on the mound with a 0.89 ERA.
A solid player for the Macks basketball team early in his career, Cody blossomed as a senior, averaging 19.4 points per game for head coach Archie Sherbinow as the team captured the Cloverbelt-West title and advanced to the Division 5 state semi-finals where they lost a close one to eventual champion Sheboygan Lutheran. He was the league Player of the Year and a First Team WBCA Division 5 All-State selection.
Being so active certainly comes with some challenges however.
"If you get injured at the end of a season in one sport you have no time to recover," Cody explained. "You just have to play through it. Also, the wear and tear on your body that each sport puts on you is tough. In each sport it puts a strain on different parts of your body."
In the end, it has all been worth it for the outstanding multi-sport star, who also graduated with a 3.5 GPA.
"Winning this award means so much to me," he said. "It is a very prestigious award with a lot of well-known athletes that have been recognized.
"I just feel honored that I had the people around me such as parents, coaches, and teammates to get me to the athlete and person that I am today."
To view our initial profile of Kyle as part of our Triple Play Triple Threat Athlete of the Week series, please click here.