Mehlum: Man of the Year
For two weeks, Nick Mehlum has been waiting to toss aside his latest accessory. Crutches just don't mesh with his lifestyle. Mehlum, a junior at Superior High School, is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He suffered the knee inju...
For two weeks, Nick Mehlum has been waiting to toss aside his latest accessory.
Crutches just don't mesh with his lifestyle.
Mehlum, a junior at Superior High School, is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He suffered the knee injury during Superior's first-round football game on Oct. 26.
"It was a complete tear, complete reconstruction," Mehlum said.
"I must have just stepped wrong or something. The pain wasn't unbearable. I didn't scream or anything."
"I think I did," said Bob DeMeyer, head coach of the Spartans.
Before his injury, Mehlum was having a breakout season at quarterback. He was on his way to 2,000 yards passing and had helped Superior to one of its best seasons in recent years.
"So many things stand out with Nick -- his athleticism, poise, competitiveness and drive to be the best," DeMeyer said. "He is a kid of extremely high character, a great student who has a healthy balance of school, athletics, work and his personal life."
Mehlum, the 2013 Superior Telegram Football Player of the Year, finished the season with 1,941 yards passing and 17 passing touchdowns. On the ground, he had 375 yards rushing and ran for eight touchdowns.
He was named the Big Rivers Conference Offensive Player of the Year and earned first team All-Conference honors at quarterback.
The junior also earned accolades during regular season play.
In week five, he was named Player of the Week by wissports.net after leading Superior to a 27-20 victory over Rice Lake. Superior trailed by two touchdowns in the third quarter before rallying for the win.
Mehlum finished the game with 227 yards passing and ran in the winning touchdown with 52 second remaining.
"That was just an amazing feeling to have a packed crowd at homecoming and do that," Mehlum said.
Expectations were high when Mehlum took over the starting quarterback role this season.
Superior already had a solid offensive line and a strong corps of receivers. If Mehlum could find his way at quarterback, the team would have all the components it needed to be successful.
"I didn't really feel much pressure," Mehlum said. "It was my first time starting, but starting on basketball for two years gave me a lot of varsity experience, like the speed of the game and how big and physical varsity sports were.
"I knew that we were prepared and that I had a great supporting cast around me to help me along."
Mehlum spent the offseason preparing with his teammates. He lifted weights, worked on his speed and played with Superior's seven-on-seven traveling team to develop timing and chemistry with the receivers.
The offseason work created a bond between the players, Mehlum said, and it carried over to the regular season.
"He would be the first to tell you he had a great supporting cast," DeMeyer said. "Much to his credit, Nick helped develop that supporting cast because of his leadership and the respect they have for him."
"Everybody out there was my brother and my friend," Mehlum said.
When the junior tore his ACL, his teammates were there to support him.
"By my reaction they probably didn't think it was that serious," Mehlum said. "I was running on the sideline, I was jogging around.
"That's why I was so shocked when the doctor said it was my ACL. It didn't seem that bad to me."
Because of the injury, Mehlum will be out of action for the winter sports season. Typically he'd be playing basketball, but now the junior has taken on a new mindset.
"I'm just focused on next season already for football," Mehlum said.
In six months, Mehlum should be cleared to resume normal activities. He hopes to be jogging in three months and running in five.
When the football season starts in the fall, he expects the Spartans to pick up right where they left off.
"I definitely think we're going to be a playoff team again. I think that's just a reasonable goal and a goal that we can achieve."
Always a QB
Mehlum attributes his success in football to his parents, Kyle and Mindy.
His father, in particular, helped direct him to his current role as Superior's quarterback.
"Ever since I was a little kid, my dad always said that I should be a quarterback because you get to have the ball every play," Mehlum said.
Mehlum began playing organized football in second grade, and at his first game, he took his father's advice and lined up at quarterback.
He's played the position every year since, with the exception of fourth grade, when he was a lineman.
"He was a huge influence," Mehlum said of his father. "Every day we were outside throwing in the yard. We've thrown so many passes together.
"He's my biggest supporter, along with my mom."