Happy Mother’s Day. For our “Sports Mom of the Year” feature, IndyStar high school sports Insider Kyle Neddenriep received many heartfelt nominations with compelling reasons why they had the perfect selection. And they did.
Here are their stories.
I nominate my wife, Jennifer Harris, for Sports Mom of the Year. I’d like to tell you a little about the work she does, and how she somehow balances it with five children who play different sports.
Jenny is a math teacher at Warren Central. In addition to teaching, she is on the wrestling coaching staff. Her primary role is overseeing the team managers, but also coordinates so many of the details that often get overlooked. This includes uniform cleaning (we have had to get many blood stains off singlets at home), coordinating transportation for students when needed, and helping to manage the youth wrestling camps and weekly practices from November through May. Additionally, when Warren Central hosts a wresting meet, Jenny helps run the event for the entire day. The team literally wouldn’t function without her organization and leadership skills. She is the definition of “Sports Mom” for this team and continues in this role for so many of the student athletes even after they graduate. She offers guidance as they navigate high school and then college academics, and she is often the first person they turn to when they simply need a trusted adult to listen.
While her role with Warren Wrestling keeps her busy, it is only the beginning of her “Sports Mom” life. Jenny and I have five kids of our own, all of whom play different sports year round.
2021 Sports Mom of the Year:She ‘has been a mother to many more than just her own boys.’
Our oldest son, Cameron, is a sophomore at Warren Central. He is on the Warren soccer team and Warren baseball team, while also balancing his time as the assistant editor of the Warren Owl. Somehow, in all the craziness of our lives, Jenny manages to attend nearly every Warren soccer and baseball game, both home and away, often with younger children in tow.
Our second oldest son, Kaiden, is an eighth-grader at Raymond Park Middle School. Kaiden plays on the football team, basketball team, and baseball team. If Jenny is not attending a Warren athletic event, you’ll probably find her at Raymond Park … or somewhere between the two, transporting Kaiden from baseball practice, which ends at 6 p.m., to spring football practice at Warren Central, which lasts until 8 p.m., twice a week.
As if that isn’t enough, we have THREE younger children at Lowell Elementary School. Kyrie, age 10, and Casey, age 9, both play soccer, baseball and basketball. Casey also wrestles year-round. Since I coach their baseball team, Jenny is responsible for making sure all the other children are where they need to be when I am busy coaching. It is exhausting, but she constantly says she wouldn’t want it any other way. As the wresting expert in our family, Jenny takes Casey to local wrestling tournaments nearly every Sunday from November through May. This time together is especially treasured by Jenny as she is able to offer Casey both support and guidance in his wrestling technique. It is truly her favorite sport and his involvement has been one of the great joys of Jenny’s life. Casey has become an honorary part of the Warren Wrestling family because of Jenny.
Our youngest child, our 6-year-old daughter Addison, takes gymnastics, which is where you will find Jenny EVERY Monday night. She also plays basketball and soccer and despite the cost of gas and miles on the minivan, Jenny will ALWAYS be there for her games.
Jenny will tell you her effort is no big deal… it’s just what moms do. And she’s right. It is what moms do. But that doesn’t make it any less remarkable. All moms are special and amazing and strong and wonderful. In her role as “SPORTS MOM” Jenny embodies all these qualities.
Thanks for the consideration,
— Matt Harris
Tracy Llewellyn knew she would be a nurse her sophomore year at Ball State University after losing her mother tragically to a brain aneurysm. After receiving the phone call, she remembers arriving at the hospital and being greeted by the nurses who worked feverishly to save her mother’s life. Even though her mom passed away, she remembers how the nurses comforted her as she dealt with her loss.
She now’s paying it forward as the Operating Room Manager and Nurse at Eskenazi by day. By night, she’s the Sports Mom of the Year for the 14-time state champions, Cathedral Irish.
Last year, Tracy could be heard cheering on the Irish and her son Bryce Llewellyn in the stands. Her son, Bryce, team captain and the anchor of an Irish defense that held opponents to under 8 points per game gave her plenty to cheer about. Bryce earned the City Defensive Player of the Year award in his senior year, won back-to-back Class 5A state championships, and helped Cathedral post one of the best two-year records, 29-2, in school history.
Tracy’s impact doesn’t stop with the cheering on Friday nights. She is a voice of reason for families and student-athletes, has served as a Cathedral Touchdown Club member for four years, and served as a Senior Team Mom.
Even with Tracy’s responsibilities, she still finds a way to honor her late mother by serving others, saving lives, cheering on her son, and Cathedral Football on Friday nights as the Sports Mom of the Year. Tracy exemplifies the awards, and it will be a great and well-deserved honor for her.
— Marlon Llewellyn
I would like to nominate my wife, Jennifer White, for the Sports Mom of the Year award!
Jennifer is the most selfless person I know. She dedicates every waking moment to being a rock star mom and supporting our very active children. Our three children go to Tri-West schools: Mollie (senior), Brady (sophomore) and Sophie (sixth-grader). Mollie has cheered varsity all four years and Jennifer was the “cheer mom” for the squad during that time. She has spent countless hours over the years helping with coordinating food, hosting cheer competitions, cheer clinics and end-of-the-season banquets. She absolutely loved supporting the team and you could see the passion she had around making sure every detail was covered. Brady, plays football and baseball for the school. With that said, Jen is also the “baseball mom” for the team this year! She coordinates all of the food for away games, getting yard signs for the players and helping with any events the team holds. She said to me last month, “I want these boys to have the best experience possible playing baseball at Tri-West, and I am going to volunteer to help make that happen”. As she always does, she jumped in with both feet and just started coordinating!
Lastly, our daughter Sophie plays basketball and softball. Sophie’s travel softball team, the Indy Stars, is one of the best teams in the state of Indiana and they travel out of state almost every other weekend to play. Jen not only helps our two oldest kids with their sports but spends most weeks also making sure our family is all set up for Sophie’s trips by booking hotels, packing clothes and food, and coordinating schedules. There are so many wonderful mothers out there, but I am nominating Jennifer this year because she is our Mom of the Year! She always puts our children’s needs in front of hers, every single day. She is one of the most caring and thoughtful people I know, and I see this demonstrated every day in how she raises our children and makes sure they have the most wonderful childhood experience possible.
I am nominating my daughter, Molly O’Brien Funk, as the Sports Mom of the Year for 2022! If you knew my daughter then you would know why she should receive this honor.
You see, ever since her son Matthew was born, almost 21 years ago, there isn’t an event she has missed attending. And, believe me, Matthew has played in almost every sport possible. And those he didn’t play in was because he couldn’t work it into his schedule.
Molly has been to baseball, football, basketball and soccer games. Matthew is a good athlete and his favorite sport is football, where he played five years for CYO, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School; then he moved on to Scecina and his mom Molly was at every game he was in, and she always took part in the moms “powder puff” events. And if you didn’t know Molly, you would always hear this very distinct voice yelling from the bleachers for her son! Yes, I don’t know of any other mom that is more deserving of the title than my daughter Molly. And, if for some reason her son wasn’t on the field, she always cheered for his team, no matter who they played, or where the game was held.
Molly has traveled to DePauw University where her son is a junior this year and she hasn’t missed a game to cheer for him. And when the Monon Bell was held she was there and was one of the first ones to order tickets and a parking spot for that game … win or lose, Molly traveled to playoff games, too. Whether in state or out of state, Molly was always there!
Besides my daughter Molly being a super attendee and cheerleader for her son, she is a fabulous daughter in so many ways, that are too numerous to mention. This is why all those reasons I’ve mentioned, Molly O’Brien Funk should me named the Mother’s Day “Sports Mom of the Year.” Thank You.
Janice Beck O’Brien
I would like to send in my nomination for Sports Mom of the Year for the 2021-2022 school year for Ms. Nicole Hoffman. Nicole Hoffman is the parent of Lawrence Central senior Jahmad Harmon, who is a football commit to Kent State University. Ms. Hoffman joined the Lawrence Central Bears family back in the Fall of 2018 and dove straight in to helping out with the football program as a team parent, which was also my first year in the Athletic Office full-time. My first time meeting Ms. Hoffman she was full of high-energy and excited about getting things going for the upcoming season like a lot of new parents. Little did I know that this energy and dedication would carry on and grow even more as the years went on.
Ms. Hoffman’s involvement is above and beyond what most parents would do outside of their work and family life. She serves as the President of our Bears Athletic Club booster parent group, which she has held that role for the past three years, she helps coordinate and oversee with me our student section spirit leaders, team parent for football and helps assist all other sports team moms with their needs, and more to just name a few. She helps us in our athletic department with any and everything even when not asked as the “official” unofficial athletic department staff member. If there is work to get done or an event to plan, she will be right at LC until the task is completed even if that means 11 p.m. or later on a weeknight. Her dedication and commitment to our student-athletes, families and our school exemplifies what it truly means to be an LC Bear. Ms. Hoffman’s connection with our student-athletes is so strong that many lean on to her as their “LC mom.” When giving back to our kids, she will go the extra mile to make sure ALL of our sports teams are celebrated equally at their events with Senior Night, Pack the House Night, etc. even if it takes every ounce of energy to make it a moment they will never forget.
Ms. Hoffman is completely beyond deserving of being a nomination for Sports Mom of the Year because her work and time she has put in alone says enough and doesn’t get enough recognition as it should. She is the Super Sports Mom for ALL our LC teams and the motivator for our department, and we truly love and value her and wish we can keep her for a little bit longer if we could. We thank you Nicole Hoffman for all that you do, and you are in our books no matter what our Sports Mom of the Year for LC.
— Lauren Hughes
I want to nominate my mom, Kathleen Lynch, for IndyStar Sports Mom of the Year. For the past 30 years, my mom has driven all over the city watching my brothers and I in our football, baseball, softball, basketball and hockey games. Growing up, my dad coached a lot of the teams, and she was always there cheering us on and supporting my dad. Now my brothers and I are grown up, my brothers having kids of their own, and now I am coaching. I am the head softball coach at Bishop Chatard and my dad coaches with me as well. First of all, my mom is my biggest supporter. She is there to listen when I am frustrated or stressed out and is there in the stands cheering us on in the biggest games of the year. This year my dad took over the JV program and she is right there for him as well. After wins or big games she is up late at night cooking brownies or cookies for my team. She is there baking cakes for senior day and everything else in between. A lot of praise goes into the coaches when the team succeeds, but what goes unnoticed is the people who are there for the coaches when things aren’t going so great, and for the Bishop Chatard softball team, that person is Kathleen Lynch.
Finally, not only is she there supporting my dad and I and our teams, she is out supporting all four of my nieces and nephews every night. All four of them play in different leagues so she is driving all over the state cheering the kids on. If she isn’t at a Roncalli softball game cheering on my oldest niece, you could find her at the Center Grove baseball diamonds or Indian Creek baseball of softball fields cheering the younger ones on. Six days a week she is at a game, no joke! And don’t worry, when she isn’t a high school game, she is on game changer staying up to date on every play that is going on! I have never met a more dedicated coach’s mom and wife and now one of the most dedicated Grammy’s I have ever met. Kathleen Lynch is the best there is and should be honored as an IndyStar Sports Mom of the Year!
— Kerry Lynch
Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.