Mike Barthelmess rode an emotional rollercoaster last weekend where the valley must have felt as deep as the Grand Canyon and the peak was like Mount Everest.
The first-year Lawrence University head football coach went from the low of seeing his youngest son injured while playing high school football on Friday night to the high of watching his Vikings dismantle Beloit College on Saturday evening for his first victory at Lawrence.
Barthelmess went to Paul Engen Field on Appleton’s north side last Friday to watch Isaac Barthelmess, a star running back for Appleton North, and his teammates take on Wausau West. The Barthelmess’ were at the game with several family members who were visiting Appleton for the weekend to watch Isaac and his older brother, Luke, Lawrence’s star quarterback, play.
Isaac had already scored a touchdown, his seventh of the young season, when he caught a pass in the second quarter.
“Isaac was spinning to try and get away from the tackle and another guy hits him the in the leg and he goes down,” Barthelmess said. “He’s not getting up and he’s not getting up. You could tell it was serious, and I thought it was his knee.”
The officials immediately waved the medical staff on the field, and the Barthelmess family followed. Isaac had broken both the fibula and tibia in the same leg.
“Luke was amazing. He was whispering in Isaac’s ear and holding his hand,” said Barthelmess, who waited in agony along with his injured son for the ambulance to arrive. “We had to just calm Isaac down, but the whole world is watching and it’s dead silent. It was kind of a feeling like you were in shock.”
Isaac was transported to Appleton Medical Center, and Barthelmess praised the staff for easing his son’s pain and preparing him for the surgery that would come Saturday morning. Barthelmess’ wife, Becky, stayed at the hospital overnight, and Barthelmess returned to an empty house.
“I slept in Isaac’s bed,” said Barthelmess, who added that he couldn’t help but think of his son’s football future. “All this preparation, all this work, and it’s over. As a parent, you feel that but you don’t want to go there because you want to be strong for him.”
Barthelmess went back to Appleton Medical Center in the morning, and Isaac spent nearly three hours in surgery.
“I was praying and keeping good thoughts for Isaac,” said Barthelmess, who added that the procedure went well. “I stayed long enough to say hello to Isaac and then went off to the game.”
The coach said his pregame speech to the players talked about appreciating the game and the opportunities presented to them.
“My mind was at our football game when it had to be,” Barthelmess said. “My mind was on Isaac for the most part, to be honest with you. The coordinators did a great job.”
One Lawrence player who also was focused on Isaac was his big brother, Luke.
“Luke had 22 (Isaac’s number) on his wristbands and the initials ICB. I knew he was going to be on a mission,” Barthelmess said. “His running style Saturday night was very different. He was running for his brother. He was looking for people to hit. He was definitely on a mission.”
Luke finished with 12 carries for 74 yards in Lawrence’s 38-14 drubbing of Beloit. He also completed 19 of 30 passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns.
Barthelmess got doused with ice water from the cooler in the final seconds of the Vikings’ victory, but he said the best part of the evening came after the final whistle when the players surrounded their coach.
“The joy for me was standing in front of those guys and looking at the expressions on their faces,” Barthelmess said. “On Saturday night after they experienced such great success, it was seeing their faces and knowing for them that all this work, all this trust, all this faith, pays off.”
Stevens runs down honor
Lawrence cross country standout Sam Stevens has been named the Midwest Conference Performer of the Week.
Stevens, a junior from Suamico, Wis., won the award after finishing second at the UW-Whitewater Invitational this past Saturday. Stevens covered the 8,000-meter course in 26:19 and led Lawrence to a fourth-place finish in the team standings.
This is the third time Stevens has been named the MWC Performer of the Week. Stevens, the defending individual conference champion, captured the award twice during the 2011 season.
Burke, Muchowski sweep MWC awards
The Lawrence women’s soccer team swept the Midwest Conference Player of the Week awards.
Senior goalkeeper Cassie Burke was named the Defensive Player of the Week and sophomore forward Keli Muchowski was selected as the Offensive Player of the Week.
Burke had 160 shutout minutes as Lawrence went 2-0 on the week. Burke recorded 10 saves in a 3-0 victory over Illinois College last Saturday. She also picked up an assist on Muchowski’s goal in the 15th minute. Burke also played the first 70 minutes, made one save and didn’t allow a goal in Lawrence’s 4-1 victory over Knox College on Sunday.
Muchowski scored three goals and picked up an assist in Lawrence’s two games last week. Muchowski scored a pair of goals against Illinois College and had a goal and an assist against Knox.
Muchowski leads the team with four goals and nine points.
Editor’s Note: Inside LU Athletics is a notes package written by Lawrence University Director of Athletic Media Relations Joe Vanden Acker. It will feature teams and individual players, recap weekly awards or highlights and take a look at what’s ahead for the Vikings.