Rockford Christian senior kicker and soccer player Hillary Noakes is our new WREX Athlete of the Week. Noakes took up kicking for the football team this year with strong results. Head coach Brett Frederick says she's connected at a greater than 80 percent clip on field goals and extra points. Kicking a football took a little adjustment, since Noakes, a University of Utah soccer recruit, has spent her whole life kicking around a soccer ball.
"It was a little weird at first, because I play soccer so the only equipment I have is cleats and shin guards," Noakes said.
She's gotten comfortable kicking while wearing a helmet and shoulder pads. She's played a key role for a Royal Lions team that is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Rockford Christian went through three straight winless seasons from 2013-'15. Noakes lives up to her role as a role model for younger girls in the community who might want to try something different.
"There's a little girl on the elementary school team, and when we had elementary night, she was looking at me with her eyes glazed," Noakes said. "She was very happy to see there's a girl on a varsity high school team. It was so sweet and it touched my heart that she was inspired by that."
Noakes hopes to keep her season going in the playoffs. Rockford Christian has never won a playoff game in school history. The Royal Lions will try to change that when they play at Orion Saturday at 1 p.m.