Janesville Parker's Vesterfelt remains humble despite his success

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Thursday, October 20, 2011
— When word reached the Janesville Parker football locker room last Friday night that Adam Vesterfelt broke the all-time city rushing record, bedlam broke out.

Players and coaches ran around looking for someone to hug or high-five, knowing they were a part of something special.

Vesterfelt sat alone in front of his locker and quietly took off his pads. No smile. No reaction. Just a couple of handshakes with his teammates.

That’s the persona of Vesterfelt, and no one understands it better than longtime Parker coach Joe Dye.

“You never put any single kid above the others you’ve worked with,” Dye said. “But in all the years I’ve been in the business, the humility Adam brings to the level of his play, and his character, that is what is most striking.

“If people really want to know who Adam is, go talk to his English teacher or his art teacher. He draws no attention to himself, but any teacher would love to have a classroom full of Adam Vesterfelts.”

Parker opponents also have seen Vesterfelt at his best. The 6-foot, 200-pound senior goes into the Vikings’ WIAA Division 1 playoff game against Waukesha West with 5,248 career yards, including 1,713 this season.

Besides the all-time city career rushing record, Vesterfelt also holds the single-game record, set in 2010 against Madison La Follette. He erupted for 372 yards in Parker’s 54-33 win, eclipsing Taylor Edwards’ previous mark of 334 yards set in 2006.

Despite being the most prolific rusher in city history, Vesterfelt has never been caught up in the hoopla surrounding his accomplishments.

“I didn’t even know coming into this season how many yards I needed to break the (all-time) record,” Vesterfelt said. “And when I did finally break it, even though I was excited inside, I didn’t want it to look like I was trying to show off.

“I was probably more happy for my (offensive) linemen because they were responsible for opening up all the holes I was able to run through.”

Vesterfelt stepped onto campus as a solid, but not compact, 180-pounder. Through four years of extensive lifting in the weight room, he has added 20 pounds of muscle and is thick through the middle.

He was handed the tailback duties his sophomore year, but had huge shoes to fill with the early comparisons to Cas Prime, the former all-time city rushing leader and his coach that first year.

“Cas was tough and demanding on Adam, but through their one-on-one sessions, they formed a bond,” Dye said. “The one area Adam needed to work on was his field vision, and that was an area where Cas excelled.

“And today, Adam would be the first to tell you that he is a better football player today because of the mentoring he got from Cas.”

Vesterfelt’s physical abilities, including speed that has allowed him to compete at the state track and field meet, are good enough to play at the next level. Dye thinks the two-time All-Big Eight Conference first-team selection has the tools to play at the Division II, and certainly, the Division III level.

Vesterfelt has not decided on a school, but he does plan on continuing his football career. He’s an excellent student and would like to pursue a degree in physical therapy.

On an elite list of great Parker tailbacks that includes Cas Prime, Taylor Edwards, Matt Mohr and Tyrone Douglas, Adam Vesterfelt sits at the top. There’s nothing humble about that.

The Vesterfelt file

-- Person I admire most: My mom, Melissa Drays.

-- Pregame routine: I stay real quiet and don’t talk to anyone. I try to focus on what’s ahead.

-- Best sports memory: Winning the Cannonball contest off the diving board after practice.

-- Significance of uniform number: Wanted No. 22, which was Cas Prime’s number, but coach Dye wanted me to have my own identity, so I was given No. 20.

-- TV show I never miss: “American Choppers.”

-- Favorite food: Pasta.

-- Favorite pastime: Going to movies.

-- Favorite movie: The first “Transformers.”

-- In 10 years, I’ll: Hopefully, have a steady job.

-- Best invention in the last 100 years: Television.

-- An unusual thing the average person wouldn’t know about me: I’m good at pottery.

-- Dream job: Physical therapist.

-- If I could have one super power, it would be: Super speed.

-- If I could play any other sport, it would be: Baseball.

-- Favorite all-time player (sports hero): Walter Payton.

-- My favorite saying: “Twinkies have a shelf life of 10 years, but we only have four years.”

-- If I could have dinner with one famous person, it would be: Will Smith.

-- CD currently getting the most play: Young Jeezy.

Last updated: 6:42 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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