Always working, always competing. That's Antioch's Athan Kaliakmanis

  • Antioch's Athan Kaliakmanis is the captain of the Daily Herald Lake County All-Area Football Team.

      Antioch's Athan Kaliakmanis is the captain of the Daily Herald Lake County All-Area Football Team. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/8/2021 7:52 PM

It's track season now for Antioch senior Athan Kaliakmanis.

But football is never far from his thoughts, and his football coach Brian Glashagel, hours after a track meet last week, pegged his star quarterback to a T.

 

"We had a track meet tonight and, first of all, here you've got a kid in Athan who is a Division I quarterback and is leaving for a Big 10 school in less than a month, and he's out there competing in a shortened track season. Not many big-time athletes at his level would do that, but Athan just loves to compete. At everything," said Glashagel, the head football coach at Antioch and an assistant coach for the track team.

"Then, after our track meet, I bet you he went out and did a throwing workout for two hours."

So did Kaliakmanis, who runs high hurdles and does long jump, do a football workout after his track meet?

"Yep, I did, actually," Kaliakmanis said with a laugh. "How did (Glashagel) know that?"

Well, Glashagel knows his quarterback pretty well. He also knows Kaliakmanis's type.

"Athan is that next-level athlete," Glashagel said. "You've got to be a little psycho, you've got to have a few screws loose to be at the level athletically that Athan is at. He's always training, he's always competing. He is a different breed of athlete and his ability has a lot to do with his relentless mindset of always working and always competing."

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Kaliakmanis laughed when told his coach thinks he might have a few screws loose.

"Ya, but, honestly, that's probably true," Kaliakmanis said. "I do everything to the extreme. I'm not perfect, nowhere near perfect, but I work so hard to be as close to perfect as I can be. I want to reach my full potential.

"I always push myself to the point where I can't go anymore. If my brain says no more, I keep going. If I feel like I'm going to pass out, I keep going. I just push myself really hard. And I really believe that if I wasn't like that, I wouldn't be where I am."

And where Kaliakmanis is now, is one of the best quarterbacks in Lake County history, which is why he has been named the captain of the 2021 Daily Herald Lake County All-Area Football Team.

Kaliakmanis will be moving on to play football at the University of Minnesota after receiving more than 20 big-time Division I offers, including offers from Purdue, Tennessee, Iowa and Boston College.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

He graduates from Antioch having passed for 3,895 yards and 44 touchdowns while rushing for 1,130 yards and 22 touchdowns.

He led the Sequoits to a perfect 6-0 record in 2021 and the Northern Lake County Conference championship, the third straight with him under center.

"What's left to be said about the No. 1 quarterback in Illinois that hasn't already been said," Glashagel said. "Athan is a game-changer. His career at Antioch is etched in stone and his future in the game of football will be limitless."

In the shortened 6-game 2021 spring season, Kaliakmanis passed for 1,158 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also rushed for 235 yards and 4 touchdowns.

"I just truly believe that I was born to do this," Kaliakmanis said of football. "Ever since I was a baby, ever since I knew what football was, I wanted to play. I love the game, I love the crowd. I love hearing the crowd cheer. I love putting on a show. I think all of that motivates me to work really, really hard to get better.

"I think I've always been pretty confident in my abilities. I'm quick with my decision-making, I can throw at weird angles. If you're open, I'll find you, but I can run if I have to. I've been blessed in a lot of ways with these qualities, but I've also had to work very hard to make them what they are now."

Kaliakmanis honed his work ethic at the family business: a pizzeria in Antioch called Corniciones.

He and his brother Dino, who happens to be a football star in his own right at Antioch, regularly work at the restaurant to help out their parents Colleen and Alex.

"Over COVID, we were really working it," Kaliakmanis said. "I think what you learn in sports helps you in the real world, and working hard in the real world, helps you in sports, too.

"Me and Dino, we are both hardworking guys."

Dino Kaliakmanis, who is older than Athan but the same year in school, also is a Minnesota recruit.

"He was one of Athan's top targets at wide receiver this season, but he also was one of the leading rushers on the team.

Athan and Dino committed to Minnesota on the same day, back in February of their sophomore year when they were on campus for a visit.

They are best friends, and the perfect workout partners for each other. They decided that continuing their football careers together for four more years sounded like an amazing plan.

"We spend so many hours on football," Athan said. "Besides school, the rest of our day is working out. We watch film together, we search up videos on YouTube about how to do different drills, we're always throwing the football around together.

"I owe a lot to Dino. I want to thank him, along with my parents and my coaches and my teammates, but especially Dino. We've always kind of looked out for each other. And it's been a blessing to play with him, and I'm so glad that I get four more years with him. The chemistry that we have is crazy. I always know where he's going to be and what he's going to do."

Kaliakmanis knows what he would like to do moving forward. His goals are not small.

"I want to win the national title at Minnesota, I want to win the Heisman Trophy, I want to be a first-round draft pick in the NFL and I want to be in the NFL Pro Bowl," Kaliakmanis said.

"I really have no idea what my full potential is right now. But if I keep working hard and staying on the right path, I think a lot of really good things will come my way."

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