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The definition of leader

CVU student-athlete Tucker Kohlasch excels in more ways than one

Dec. 8, 2011

By Steven Frank

Observer staff

 

Champlain Valley Union High School senior Tucker Kohlasch’s leadership is making its mark at the school, particularly when it comes to athletics. (Observer photo by Steven Frank)

Tucker Kohlasch recalled that one of his dad’s “big things” was to take pride in your work.

Six years after his dad, Bill Kohlasch, passed away from cancer, the Champlain Valley Union High School senior is parlaying that advice into a formidable on- and off-the-field resume — one that also impacts the CVU community.

Tucker Kohlasch, a Williston resident, plays three sports at CVU: football, basketball and baseball. In football this year, as a kicker, he nailed two field goals  — including a 37-yard boot — and earned spots on the All-Metro and Burlington Free Press All-State teams. Also a cornerback, he led the team with six interceptions.

Last spring, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Kohlasch smashed two home runs that sailed over the fence. The infielder was selected to the All-Metro team, and played that summer on the S.D. Ireland American Legion squad.

But of all these accolades, none describe Kohlasch better than leader.

“(Kohlasch) defines leader; he is one of the easiest guys to talk to,” said Andrew Whitbeck, a basketball teammate. “He is not afraid to call you out if something isn’t right, or just to help you out. He is a real morale booster. What more could you ask for?”

Two years ago, Kohlasch was one of three male CVU athletes chosen to attend a leadership conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Burlington. Last year, he was CVU’s male nominee for a leadership college scholarship. He wasn’t selected for the scholarship, which has to advance past the state level and is awarded nationally, but the nomination further indicates how Kohlasch has taken his father’s advice to heart.

“I try to carry (that advice) with me,” said Kohlasch, who has athletics in his blood. His father was a two-time all-American college player. His mother, Cathy, teaches physical education at Williston Central School.

“(I’m motivated) just by assisting my teammates,” he added. “To help them succeed is important. That’s how teams are successful … I just love having the team atmosphere.”

And the basketball team, which begins the regular season Tuesday at home against Missisquoi, enjoys the atmosphere Kohlasch creates. As a point guard, it’s up to Kohlasch to be a leader on the court — a position that suits him well.

“He has a high game IQ, he is very knowledgeable — very passionate,” said Scott Bliss, CVU boys basketball coach, who will also use Kohlasch at the shooting guard position. “Tucker is one of the easiest athletes I’ve ever coached. He is willing to do whatever it takes to be successful, an extremely coachable kid.”

Teammates feed off that attitude.

“When Tucker talks, everybody listens,” Whitbeck said. “You respect what he has to say.”

Kohlasch said he’s been encouraged by the first two weeks of practices, but said it’s too early to project how the team will do this winter. He also isn’t sure what college he plans to attend — possibilities include Middlebury College, the University of Vermont and Roger Williams University.

However, one item in Kohlasch’s crystal ball is clear.

“I need to play some sort of sport (in college),” said Kohlasch, who is considering trying out for Middlebury’s football team (an NCAA Division III program) as a kicker next fall. “I have to do intramural or something, regardless. That’s a given.”