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Moon shines bright for Panthers

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Phillipsburg senior Nathan Moon, an All-State D-back for the 2A Champs, is also a rare dual-sport participant in basketball and wrestling

  • Nathan Moon does it all for the Phillipsburg Panthers.
    Nathan Moon does it all for the Phillipsburg Panthers, including the rare dual-sports combo of basketball and wrestling. (Football and basketball photos by Jacque Bretton, wrestling photo by Staci Minkler)

At just 5-5 and about 150 pounds Phillipsburg senior Nathan Moon seldom stands out in a crowd, but when it comes to the respect of his coaches, teammates and community, Moon is a standout.

After a senior football season that saw Moon help the Panthers to a 2A State Title and earn All-State honors from the Kansas Football Coaches Association for his play as a defensive back, Moon is currently in the midst of a winter sports season where he is the rare dual-sport athlete that participates in both basketball and wrestling. In spite of all he has on his plate, Moon is also a 4.0 student.

Phillipsburg basketball coach Keith Sides said Moon is a "great kid" who is "small, but finds a way." Phillipsburg sports photographer Jacque Bretton, who shared photos of Moon in action for this article, said Moon deserves more credit. "That kid never gets the credit he deserves, he's a beast!" Bretton said.

Sides said basketball is Moon's primary sport and he wrestles when he can for coach Andy Kenney, but manages to make it work. Moon is 3-3 on the season as a wrestler and averages 7.9 points, 2.7 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game on the hardwood for a Phillipsburg team that will play for the Mid-Continent League Tournament title Saturday night.

We caught up with Moon earlier this week and asked him what it was like to juggle two of the year's most intense sports, while maintaining excellent grades, all during the same season.

Q: What made you decide to do both winter sports this year?

A: I decided to compete in both sports this year because in my past high school years it's been a tough decision on which sport to do for the winter season.

Q: When initially proposed, how did your coaches feel about the idea of you playing both sports?

A: When I first asked both coaches, coach Sides was very understanding and willing to make it work. At the same time, coach Kenney was excited to have me in the wrestling room because he has been trying to get me to wrestle since freshman year.

Q: How are you able to manage your school work and participation in two sports in the same season?

A: It does take more time to be involved in both, but I am able to manage school work by maintaining focus during school hours and working on homework in my spare time during class periods. I also do not procrastinate because I know that multiple days I could be gone to competitions.

Q: Would you like to secure an athletic scholarship and continue to participate in sports after high school?

A: After high school I plan on attending Cloud County Community College and an athletic scholarship would be really cool, but as of now I do not plan on continuing athletics at the next level.

Kansas Pregame covers high school sports in the Sunflower State. Know of a great story that needs to be told? We want to hear from you! Email us the next great story or video focused on Kansas high school sports at