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Senior captain Chris Bartosic was named the Hand football team’s Most Improved Player for his stellar play at wide receiver and cornerback with the two-time state champion Tigers. (Photo courtesy of Chris Bartosic )
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Chris Bartosic loves being on the football field and always played with passion as a member of the Hand football team. During the past two seasons, Chris experienced a boatload of joyous moments while battling alongside his Tigers’ teammates on the gridiron.
Chris recently completed his career as a senior captain who played wide receiver and cornerback for the Tigers. Chris earned a starting spot as a sophomore and then helped Hand go on a remarkable run these last two years. The Tigers finished with a record of 12-1 in 2017 and then went 13-0 in 2018, concluding each campaign with the Class L state title in their grasp. Chris was selected as Hand’s Most Improved Player for his senior season.
“I love the physicality of football. I’m in my happy place on the field with my pads on. My success comes from the heart I have,” Chris says. “My main route is a slant over the middle, because my coaches know I can take the hit, but still make the play there.”
Chris says the captains on Hand’s 2017 team established a foundation of honor and respect among the Tigers. Chris put that same philosophy into practice when he stepped into a leadership role as a senior this year.
“The leadership I and the seniors brought helped to bring the team together. They listened to us, heard what we had to say, and believed in it,” says Chris. “The seniors were unbelievable leaders, and they helped to carry the team back to the state title.”
Chris was constantly on both sides of key matchups while playing the wide receiver and cornerback positions. As a corner, Chris had to anticipate the fancy footwork of the other team’s receivers. On the offensive side of the ball, he created nightmares for opposing defensive backs.
“On offense, I’m able to know what type of steps the cornerbacks will take,” Chris says. “Defensively, I know how to beat press coverage by playing the other side, and how to use my hands and feet to create room.”
Head Coach Dave Mastroianni says that Chris was a great communicator who provided a seamless conduit between Hand’s players and coaches.
“Chris was a guy I could go to in order to be the lifeline between the coaches and the team,” Mastroianni says. “He helped make sure our messages were consistent from the top to the bottom of the organization.”
One of Chris’s fondest memories from growing up was seeing the Hand football team win a state championship in 2012. Chris wanted to experience that triumphant feeling himself one day. He says it feels great to have guided the Tigers to the pinnacle of the state in consecutive campaigns.
“Being a captain of one of the top two teams in the state is something people dream about. I remember watching the 2012 team, and that team was amazing,” Chris says. “I had a real unique career here. I started as a sophomore, and to go from 2-8 to two titles was amazing. The 2-8 season changed Hand football to help us go on a crazy turnaround.”
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