Van Vleet Effect Part 2

Rockford-) Rockford sports fans have taken pride in seeing Fred Van Vleet excel on the national stage while playing basketball for Wichita State. How great it would be to see more Rockford athletes have the same sort of success?  New field houses at three of the Rockford High Schools should help produce more top athletes.

They’ll be big, and they’ll be first class facilities. The new field houses going up at Auburn, Guilford and East will be unlike anything District 205 athletes and students have seen before.

"The  athletes are ecstatic (about the field houses), "says Guilford volleyball coach Tina Sundstedt.

More basketball and volleyball courts, indoor tracks, large weight rooms and fitness areas in the field houses will mean more opportunities for Rockford Athletes to train, compete and excel.

"The talent certainly is here in town. Developing that talent both in the classroom and in the gym and playing fields is the next step we’re taking," says District 205 director of athletics Mat Parker.

"It’s just so exciting. I’m so pumped," says Sundstedt.

Sundstedt has coached girls and now boys volleyball at Guilford for 28 years. This spring she had to turn away several boys who showed up wanting to play volleyball, because there wasn’t the space for all of them. That won’t be the case with the new field house.

"It’s going to give us more opportunities to have more athletes involved such as a freshman boys team," says Sundstedt. "I had 62 kids come out and nowhere to put them, and so we only have two levels instead of three levels."

Since Guilford has had only one main gym and one small auxiliary gym up until now, teams have had divvy up practice time, often times practicing late at night. Boys basketball coach Dean Martinetti believes that has discouraged some students from going out for sports.

"If you’re on the fence of going out for a sport, and then you look at, 'do I want to practice and be here until late in the evening.' I think some young people decide that’s not what they want to do," says Martinetti.

The more kids that come out for sports in the Rockford schools, the more likely that some of them will develop into major college athletes. 

"Once you get kids involved then more kids will get involved," says Martinetti.

With the field houses the Rockford schools will also be able to provide more camps and host more tournaments which will also raise the talent level of Rockford athletes.

The field houses also send a message to local kids.  One that says they matter.

"Having our field house allows for everybody to feel that the athletic program is more big time. That it’s arrived," says Auburn basketball coach Bryan Ott.

Wednesday on the final part of the Van Vleet Effect we'll see how one Stateline training center is turning good athletes into great athletes. That's on Eyewitness News at 10.

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