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Athlete of the Week – Chris Park

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — It's been quite the career for Auburn's Chris Park. Recently he won the NIC-10 singles title, before losing a hard fought match in Sectionals to Hononegah's Thomas Ptacin. Regardless, Park is state-bound.

"In my opinion, playing against those guys at state does bring out the better," said Park. "I have a tendency to play down to someone's level or play up to their level so plus it will be a lot less pressure, being an underdog there. I definitely find it a lot more fun experience, just time to hangout with the team and if we get a win, that's great."

Park graduates from Auburn on Wednesday, a bittersweet day, spending spending his time growing up playing tennis with his best friends. For him, it's hard to pick what he'll miss most.

For the Auburn girls, Belen Nevenhoven won the NIC-10 and Sectional title in the fall, now Chris is the NIC-10 singles champion on the boys side, both representing Auburn in a big way.

"Having this kind of talent around, it's just fun to have," said Auburn tennis coach Tracy Palmer. "It's fun to work with because they've all got their own goals so you just ask them what they want to do and what they want to accomplish and work from there."

Nevenhoven didn't get the chance to compete at state due to the pandemic, but Park and his squad have a chance to bring a title home for the Knights this weekend.

"We're going to see how well he can do against the rest of the kids at state, we haven't gotten to see too many of them," said Palmer. "It should be fun, for these guys it's icing on the cake because they earned it, they deserve to get to state."

Chris Park, heading to state, hoping to bring some hardware back to the The Castle.

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Sam Knox

Sam joined the WREX news team in the Spring of 2020.

He graduated from Emerson College in May of 2020, just two days before moving to Rockford to take the job at WREX as a Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter. He majored in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Sports Communication.

Sam is originally from Sturbridge, Massachusetts, and has been an avid sports fan his whole life. He played basketball and baseball in high school, and he went on to play collegiate baseball at Emerson.

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