MidWestOne Bank Scholar Athlete of the Month: West High Senior Crane Makes A Difference On and Off the Basketball Court

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Photo by Rob Howe

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

IOWA CITY – Tate Crane is a difference maker.

Whether it is catching passes on the football field or grabbing rebounds and hitting jump shots on the basketball court Crane is the type of athlete that can change a game.

In his senior year at West High Crane wanted to do more than just change games he wanted to be a difference maker outside of athletics.

“At the end of my junior year I was really focused on school and sports and I was kind of thinking my senior year I want to be known not just as a student athlete but as a person that makes an impact another way,” Crane said. “I wanted to find a way to make a difference outside of sports.”

Crane has certainly achieved that goal during his final year at West High.

Along with staring on the West High football and basketball teams and carrying a 4.2 GPA Crane found another way to have an impact.

After consulting with counselors and coaches at West High Crane founded a food pantry this fall to help families of West High students.

“As I talked to the counselors and I didn’t know there was a huge need at West High for kids that need food, the type of kids that don’t want to ask but they do need some help,” Crane explained “When I got told that I was really motivated to start it up.”

Once Crane came up with the idea, there was no stopping him.

Crane put the same intensity and work ethic that drew praise for athletic coaches into his new undertaking.

"Tate is tough, Tate is just tough and he works hard,” West High basketball coach Steve Bergman said. “He works and works and works.”

It didn’t take long for the food pantry to get rolling.

A goal for the personable Crane was to get as many students, teachers, groups and clubs at West High involved in the project as possible.

It started with Crane and a group of 10 to 15 fellow students bringing in food weekly to donate.

With the help of West High football coach Garrett Hartwig Crane got other clubs and then classes to run competitions to see which group could collect the most food.

Just like that it was off and running.

“It speaks to his values and his ability to see things beyond his own personal gain,” Hartwig said. “That’s how he played football, he was very unselfish. He was a great weapon for us at receiver and he was key in our offense but he never demanded the ball or asked for the ball he accepted his role and did everything he could to make us a better team.”

Entering the winter break Crane said around 150 packages of 20 items had been raised for families in need.

Crane was making a difference in a whole new way than he had as a football or basketball standout.

“It gave me a whole new perspective because again I was kind of a student athlete and when I did that, I felt like a lot better,” Crane said. “I felt better doing that than in any football or basketball game just making an impact beyond sports and school.”

Crane continues to make a difference.

The 6-foot-3 senior is averaging 8.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for fifth-ranked West High (17-2) this season as the Trojans seek to extend their streak of state tournament appearances to double digits.

“At the beginning of the year coach Bergman always asks what’s your goal and we say to get to state and then he explains that every team across the state is setting the same goal and asks what is going to separate you,” Crane said. “That opens up your mind, you can’t just set up a goal and get it.”

Crane is busy with basketball now but his future is in football.

Early this month he signed a letter of intent to continue his football career at Truman State where Hartwig has no question he will continue to make a difference on and off the field.

“He’s reliable and he’s a quality individual on and off the field,” Hartwig said. “That’s the biggest thing with Tate is he’s a great person. He’s going to find a very competitive level of football and he’s going to have success academically and athletically.”

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