By BRIAN DZENIS
Kline tried, she succeeded.
The Newton Falls senior cemented her status as one of her school’s greatest athletes this year, being not only the best player on her team, but the best in the area and beyond across volleyball, girls basketball and track and field. If there is anyone wishing to follow her path, her mantra is simple.
“Just go for it. The way I look at it, when people are questioning if they should go out for something, I’ve always heard people say they regret not going, but I’ve never heard somebody saying they regret going out,” Kline said. “You never realize how much fun you can have with it. It keeps you in shape and there’s so much you can learn.”
Kline learned plenty in becoming The Vindicator Female Athlete of the Year.
This spring, she capped her career (12 varsity letters) at the top of the podium in the shot put in the state track and field tournament. She also had a fourth-place finish in the discus and a 10th-place finish in the high jump.
What’s worth noting about her time in Columbus is she won that shot put title while competing in the high jump simultaneously. While she had to bow out of the high jump to finish her pursuit of a shot put title, the personal best she set tied for the best high jump performance by a female in this year’s tournament.
“Considering I haven’t won a state title in any other sport, it’s definitely the most memorable thing I’ve done at Newton Falls,” Kline said. “I’ve been working toward it since I’ve made state my sophomore year.
“It’s been a long time.”
The big spring came after stellar fall and winter seasons. The Tigers volleyball team (15-7) won the All-American Conference Blue Tier as Kline was the her tier’s Player of the Year.
When it came time for basketball season, her achievements took on a more personal note. Averaging 19.9 points, 12.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists and four steals a game, Kline led the Tigers to an 18-8 record and a district title. She’s been part of every district title-winning team in Newton Falls girls basketball history, with the school’s first title coming during her sophomore year.
Kline surpassed her older sister, Gabby Kline, as the program’s all-time leading scorer. Gabby is two years ahead of Izzy.
“Since we were so similar in age, we both pushed each other in everything we did. It was always a competition between us,” Kline said. “I had a lot to chase with her records.”
With 1,604 points in her career, she’s the school’s highest scoring basketball player regardless of gender.
She’s also the program’s all-time leading rebounder with 984 boards and holds the records for most steals and most rebounds in a game.
Izzy and Gabby aren’t the only athletes in the family. Izzy’s mother, Tonya, was state qualifier in the long jump for Jackson-Milton and played basketball in college . Her father, Kenneth, played basketball and ran track. She has four brothers.
As a college recruit, Kline had offers — few that were Division I — coming in since her sophomore year. She went with Division II Malone for basketball and track, but her stock had a sharp rise after the track state tournament her junior year.
After she finished state runner-up in the shot put to East Liverpool’s Lindsay Baker, more Div. I offers came her way. She ended up signing with Cincinnati.
“I was already committed [to Malone], but I hadn’t signed,” Kline said. “All these calls were coming in and I had to consider it.”
After being a renaissance woman at Newton Falls, Kline looks forward to being a one-sport athlete for the Bearcats. That’s what she got for just going for it.
“The work that you put in is what you get out,” Kline said. “I would have never thought some of these things in sports that have happened to me would have.”