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Center Grove tight end Nate Wozniak commits to Minnesota


12:00 AM, Jan. 31, 2013 EST

Center Grove tight end Nat Wozniak visited Minnesota last weekend and was impressed. "The coaches feel I can do big things there," he said, "and I do, too." / Chris Bergin / For The Star

The University of Miami (Fla.) has been recruiting Center Grove High School tight end Nate Wozniak since last spring so Center Grove football coach Eric Moore was surprised when the 6-9, 250-pound Wozniak committed to Minnesota on Thursday.

"But it's the (players') lives, not mine," Moore said. "I don't know as much about Minnesota but I know coach (Jerry) Kill has done a great job there."

Wozniak's final three choices included Purdue but he eliminated the Boilermakers last week. Wozniak, who said Minnesota assistant coach Jeff Phelps starting recruiting him shortly after Miami, visited Minnesota last weekend.

"I just had one of those feelings that it was the right place for me," Wozniak said. "They have a great business school. I liked the campus and felt comfortable with the coaching staff. They use multiple tight ends in their formations. The coaches feel I can do big things there and I do too."

Wozniak, a member of 2012 The Indianapolis Star Super Team, caught 20 passes for 331 yards and five touchdowns. Moore said Wozniak is an excellent blocker and kept getting better.

"He's got the world at his hands," Moore said.

No. 32 retired at Southport

Suiting up for the varsity basketball team at Southport was one of two goals as a kid for Louie Dampier.

The other? Playing Major League Baseball.

One out of two isn't bad.

Friday, 50 years after he averaged 24 points a game as high school senior and led Southport to Marion County tournament and sectional championships, Dampier will have his No. 32 jersey retired by the school.

"It's quite an honor," said Dampier, who makes his home in La Grange, Ky."My goal, besides pro baseball, was just to play for the varsity team."

Dampier made the most of it, helping coach Blackie Braden's team to a sectional title as a junior in 1962. The following year, at Southport Fieldhouse, Dampier's steal and last-second jumper lifted Southport to an upset win the sectional over the powerhouse Washington Continentals.

"That's one game I'll always remember," said Dampier, 68. "Washington was a lot higher ranked than we were and were expected to win."

Southport lost in the Hinkle Regional championship the following week to Broad Ripple, 71-61, ending Dampier's high school career. But it was just the beginning for the 6-0 guard. Dampier spurned an offer from home state Indiana to play for Adolph Rupp and Kentucky.

"My uncle Louie was a graduate of IU and took me to visit (then-coach) Branch McCracken," Dampier said. "Branch told me to take a look around the facility and I waited for about 20 minutes while my uncle talked to him. Branch came back out and said, 'We have a scholarship here for you if you want it.' But I felt like my uncle had talked him into it so I went to go visit Kentucky."

A member of teams known as "Rupp's Runts," Dampier starred from Kentucky from 1964-67. A two-time All-American, Dampier scored 1,575 points at Kentucky and averaged 19.7 per game.

"It was the best thing that ever happened to me," Dampier said of his decision to attend Kentucky. "I wanted to go to IU, but I didn't really feel like they wanted me."

He went on to a long career in professional basketball, averaging 18.9 points in nine seasons with the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA. He closed his career by playing three seasons with the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA.

Dampier doesn't make it back to Southport often, but said he's looking forward to Friday's festivities.

"It's always good to get back," he said. "I have a lot of memories there."

Fast Hornet

Beech Grove junior swimmer Lorece Johnson has had a memorable season, breaking five school records: 50-yard freestyle (26.03 seconds), 100 freestyle (57.39), 500 freestyle (5:47.65), 100 breaststroke (1:13.79) and 200 individual medley (2:24.96).

"Lorece's love for the sport and her hard work ethic have given her the ability to reach new heights at our school," Hornets coach Lori LaMar said in an email. "Lorece is shaping out to be the fastest Lady Hornet swimmer ever. She never misses an opportunity to be in the water, never cheats on an interval set, and gets out of the water knowing she swam her best."

Etc.

Three former Lawrence North athletes, Brandys Green (2000-03), Temeka Kincy (2002-04), Marcus Lewis (1999-02) and Sheridan's John Northam (1919-22) will be inducted into the Indiana Track and Field and Cross Country Hall of Fame Friday in Indianapolis. A reception will be held at the hall of fame museum in Terre Haute on Saturday.

Jake O'Brien, a three-time state champion from Franklin Central, will be among six wrestlers inducted into the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame at its banquet at 1 p.m. on Feb. 17 at Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria in Greenwood. Noblesville coach Tom Knotts and former Westfield coach Bernie Graser are the two coaches being inducted. Ben Davis athletic director John Clark will receive the Tom Cameron Administrative Award while the Dick Neal family of Martinsville receives the Historian's Family Award.

 

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