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'Ice' storm: Craig's Berghammer goes viral

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Tom Miller
February 9, 2014

What’s in a name? Let me tell you.

On Wednesday morning, Janesville Craig High senior Isaiah Berghammer submitted his letter of intent to attend Wayne State University in Nebraska and play football.

By Thursday morning, his signing was mentioned on several national radio sports talk shows, by ESPN and in numerous Twitter posts.

Nothing against the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Berghammer, but the popularity of his commitment had nothing to do with his football ability—although he bench presses 315 pounds, squats 405 and runs the 40 in 4.75 seconds.

The national appeal had everything to do with his nickname.

You see, Isaiah has been known as “Ice” since he was 3 or 4.

“I even use Ice on my school papers,” Berghammer said Friday afternoon. 

Ice Berghammer. If you still don’t get what makes this smile-worthy, think of it this way: Iceberg Hammer.

That’s what the national media caught while skimming through the thousands of football commitments submitted Wednesday to schools that offer scholarships.

Any list of “best names of signees” included Berghammer. The reaction caught Berghammer like the Seattle defense caught Peyton Manning last Sunday.

Can you say “surprised?”

“Definitely not,” the son of Mike and Jean Berghammer said when asked if he expected anything like this. “I was in school and was randomly getting tweets from people I never heard of. Some of them had a half a million followers.”

The next morning, Ice was mentioned on the “Dan Patrick Show,” the “Mike and Mike” show on ESPN Radio and was included in tweets from an ESPN recruiting expert.

He got this tweet from Chris Vernon, a Memphis sports talk radio host: “THE Ice Berghammer?!?! Shout out to you @iceberg_31. Congrats on signing day, and the name.”

This is all for a player who earned honorable mention Big Eight Conference honors this past season. Berghammer has been working out with athletic trainer Brad Fitzke for the past 18 months. Fitzke went to Wayne State and suggested Berghammer look into attending the school.

After an unofficial and then an official visit to the campus, which is about a seven-hour drive from Janesville, Ice said he “fell in love” with the Nebraska university.

The rest is tweeting history.

The only name that may have received more attention than Ice was defensive end Lion King of Southfield, Mich. Lion King signed with Eastern Michigan. He used to be Lion King Conaway but legally changed it to just Lion King.

Don’t laugh. Having Isaiah legally change his name to Ice has been discussed around the family dinner table.

Ice has rejected that because of business considerations later in life.

Let this be a lesson to people who don’t understand how fast something can take off in today’s ever-expanding media world. You can be an 18-year-old kid in Janesville, Wis., one day and mentioned on national TV the next.

In this instance, at least it was all in good fun.

The sudden exposure made Ice a bit of a celebrity in the Craig hallways this week. But most of his peers have accepted Ice Berghammer for years.

“It’s a cool name,” Ice said.

Gotta love it.

Tom Miller is a page designer/sports writer for The Gazette.



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