Storms Produce Uncertainty for Wilson, Kiel

Duwyce Wilson

Duwyce Wilson knows what school he'll be at in the fall of 2009, but he's not entirely sure where he'll be come late August, 2008.

Duwyce Wilson knows what school he'll be at in the fall of 2009, but he's not entirely sure where he'll be come late August, 2008.

It's not the recent IU commit has thoughts of departing Columbus East H.S. – far from it. His attention is on teaming with quarterback Dusty Kiel and the rest of his teammates to try to win the school's first state title since 1979. But the standout wide receiver isn't convinced that when the school gets underway next month he'll be walking through Columbus East's doors.

That's because the high school suffered significant flooding and damage from the storms that ravaged much of south central Indiana last month. Columbus was one of the areas hardest hit, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. Columbus East high school's athletic facilities were among the devastated areas, with the flooding destroying the basketball gyms, locker rooms, weight rooms, and the training area.

"With everything that happened, we don't know (if the school will be ready on the first day of school) for sure," Wilson said. "I've heard rumors we might be going to a different school for the first couple of days. We'll have to wait and see."

Wilson and Kiel were on their way to Bloomington when the rains came, making the trip along with their high school teammates for IU's 7-on-7 passing camp. By the time they returned home, the damage had been done.

"Something like this hasn't happened since something like 1913," said Kiel. "After the 7-on-7 we got back home fine, but by then we'd heard that a couple of dams broke and that the school had five feet of water. It was awful."

Many of the teams that had originally planned to participate in the 7-on-7 event had their plans derailed by the weather. Wide-spread flooding forced the closure of a number of major interstates and highways, including State Road 37 which is the major north-south entry into Bloomington.

Neither Kiel nor Wilson's family suffered damage to their homes due to the storms, but both knew plenty of people who did.

"I have a couple of friends on the football team whose homes were totally lost," said Wilson. "So we've been trying to help them out. We were talking about how some of the people around here decided to not buy flood insurance because it hasn't happened here in so long, and now this happens."

Like the rest of the state, the flood waters have since receded, but life is still far from normal. Columbus Regional Hospital remains closed after an estimated $125 million in damage, and one of the city's largest employers, Cummins, is recovering from an estimated $100 million in losses.

At Columbus East there's still a ways to go as well. After the floods, East's football players were going to neighboring Columbus North H.S. to use their weight room, and Wilson said the team was able to go back out onto its football field for the first time Monday.

"Really, we lost everything," Kiel said.

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