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updated: 3/12/2014 7:53 PM

Naperville Central's Kolzow makes his best catch yet

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  • Michael Kolzow of Naperville Central moves the ball through the Naperville North defense during football action on Friday at North Central College.

      Michael Kolzow of Naperville Central moves the ball through the Naperville North defense during football action on Friday at North Central College.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer


Catching 9 touchdown passes as a receiver and intercepting 3 others as a defensive back for the Class 8A football champions last fall, Naperville Central junior Michael Kolzow was often at the right place at the right time.

His timing was never better than one early morning, Feb. 24, when Kolzow may have saved a man's life.

In a previously reported event that is just too good to pass up here, Kolzow, 17, was up and out of his house in Naperville's Bonnema Woods subdivision, driving to school at about 5:15 a.m. to lift weights.

In a neighbor's driveway he saw an elderly man seemingly confused and certainly not dressed for a brutally cold winter morning -- no shoes, short-sleeve T-shirt, pajama shorts.

Kolzow rolled down his window.

"I asked him if he needed any help, and basically he started to scream," the junior said. "He couldn't really talk, and it was like negative-1 degrees out there."

Kolzow didn't know the man, thought he might be homeless. The man did want help, tried to get into the car but was unable to by himself. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Kolzow picked him up, "laid him in the car and blasted the heat," he said.

"I wasn't even sure he was my neighbor, to be honest," he noted.

He was, and after Kolzow called 911 the man was taken safely to his home about two blocks away. Kolzow said he later learned the man had simply "walked out of the wrong door and just kept going."

The man, 91, suffers from dementia, according to his son, who wrote a letter to the Naperville Sun praising Kolzow's actions, calling him a hero.

Naperville Central football and girls track coach Mike Stine concurred, helping spread Kolzow's exploits throughout the school community.

"Heroes are people who do ordinary things in extraordinary situations," Stine wrote in his widely distributed email. "You are one, Mike. What a great demonstration of character and virtue."

Kolzow said the family of the man he rescued invited him over to thank him personally -- the elderly man didn't remember the event, Kolzow said -- and he has received congratulatory comments in the Naperville Central hallways, from classmates through administrators.

Kolzow is a baseball shortstop and a football talent, a lifelong quarterback except for last season, with interest from Yale and Cornell, a "junior day" workout at Western Michigan under his belt with another pending at Akron.

Be it on a field or on city streets, he's learned timing is huge.

"It was a 'right place at the right time' scenario," Kolzow said. "You've got to help a guy out, he's out there struggling. You can't really pass that up."

From downtown

Congratulations to the girls who competed in the IHSA's Three-Point Showdown the last couple of weeks.

Last week it was Class 3A and Class 4A players launching them in Peoria's Carver Arena. The field included Montini sophomore Paulina Castro, Glenbard South senior Tomei Ball and Wheaton Academy sophomore Jamie Netzley in Class 3A.

In Class 4A Naperville Central junior Emily Kraft and York sophomore Megan Backman participated in the contest. Kraft's eight 3-pointers in her preliminary round tied her with six other shooters with 8 makes, one shy of the cutoff of 9.

The week before two more sophomores participated in the Class 2A Showdown -- IC Catholic Prep's Kasey Carver and Lisle's Sammi Maas.

Next up on Thursday are the Class 1A/2A boys, but the nearest qualifiers are Mooseheart's Mangisto Deng and Elgin Academy's Detrich Robinson in Class 1A. The boys' Class 3A/4A qualifiers, decided next week, will compete March 20.

Short, not sweet

The Chicago Red Stars women's pro soccer team announced defender Casey Short has suffered a season-ending knee injury.

The Naperville Central graduate was acquired via trade with the Boston Breakers on Oct. 29, 2013. Drafted by the Breakers with the fifth overall pick in 2013, the 23-year-old suffered a season-ending knee injury then, too, and missed all of last season.

An 800-and 400-meter state champion for the Naperville Central girls track team, Short starred in soccer at Florida State. Despite losing her 2011 college season to a preseason injury, she returned strong in 2012 as a redshirt senior, playing the most minutes of her college career.

Follow Dave on Twitter at doberhelman1

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