TriCounty Heather Cassady was only a sophomore in the 1995-96 school year, but the Dunlap High School two-sport standout showed such talent she was named the Tri-County Female Athlete of the Year.
First came basketball.
The 5-foot-5 guard averaged 15.5 points (including such monstrous scoring games as 30 and 35 points in the sectional and super-sectional, respectively), 8.5 assists and 4.6 steals.
She was named the Journal Star's Player of the Year in Class A and was a vital reason why Dunlap made the school's first appearance in the state finals, finishing fourth after bowing to Byron 59-57 in the third-place game.
Then the softball season arrived.
Dunlap's second baseman, Cassady hit .562, the highest on the Journal Starís Class A all-star team.
Attending grade school in East Peoria, Cassady became a basketball standout playing against boys.
"I was sort of a tomboy because I grew up around the guys," Cassady has said. "That's why I can play like a guy, because I played with boys like Mark Vershaw and Jason Jenkins (East Peoria's very large standouts)."
Heather Cassady was only a sophomore in the 1995-96 school year, but the Dunlap High School two-sport standout showed such talent she was named the Tri-County Female Athlete of the Year.
A two-sport star (baseball and basketball) at both Limestone High School and Illinois Central College, Thome went on to a legendary baseball career as one of the top sluggers in Major League Baseball history. A 13th-round selection by the Cleveland Indians in 1989, Thome made his MLB debut in 1991. After a 22-year career with Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles, Thome ranks seventh in Major League history with 612 home runs and 24th with 1,699 runs batted in, while boasting a .276 career batting average. He was a five-time All-Star and received Most Valuable Player votes in nine different seasons. Thome helped Cleveland to World Series appearances in both 1995 and 1997 and he hit 17 career postseason home runs. Thome led the American League in slugging in 2002 (.677) and the National League with 47 home runs in 2003 and he received a 1996 Silver Slugger Award. Thome also was the 2006 Americal League Comeback Player of the Year. Recognized for his integrity, sportsmanship and community involvement, Thome received the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 2001 and 2004, as well as the 2002 Roberto Clemente Award and the 2004 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. The Cleveland organization dedicated a statue of Thome outside Progressive Field following his official retirement in 2014.