You would be hard pressed to find a local athlete that has had a better last few years athletically than Chase Jerome.
These days, successful high school athletes seem to be a dime a dozen across the country, but finding one who exudes humility in all that he does is much more rare.
Chase is certainly one of the good ones.
The Silver Valley has had a rich history of athletes. The Jerome name isn’t so much a new chapter in that history, but more of a continuation of one.
His family is as rooted in Kellogg athletics as one can be, going back to his grandfather, Ralph Braun.
Chase was born in Coeur d’Alene on April 3, 2000 (let that sink in, and happy birthday) to Jeff and Cathi Jerome.
Early on, his parents and pretty much everyone who came into contact with Chase realized that he wasn’t like other kids his age, especially on a basketball court.
“From the time Chase was little, I’d say around five or even younger, he was doing things that you just don’t see kids that age doing,” Cathi said. “I remember being at one of his AAU games when he was in 4th grade sitting with my dad (Ralph Braun). Chase dribbled down, did a cross over and went up with his left and made a basket. My dad leaned over to me and said, ‘he’s special, he’s been given a gift and I can’t wait to see what he does with it.’ I would say towards the end of his 8th grade year he really developed as an all around pure athlete to the point where he could pick any sport and almost instantly be very good at it.”
Very good may be an understatement.
To visit the previously mentioned last few years for Chase, one would see a third place finish at the 2017 state basketball tournament, a 2017 state golf championship, a selection as offensive player of the year for the 2017 football season, a league MVP title and two different all state selections for the 2017-18 basketball season. He now finds himself in the midst of another golf season that promises something spectacular.
And while many heap praise on Chase for his hard word and success, he almost refuses to give himself any credit.
“When I was little I saw my brother out playing with all of his friends and I wanted to play with them,” Chase said. “When my dad started helping Jeff Lambert with the varsity team, I was at practice every chance I got. I wanted to be those guys.”
Determined to be involved in any aspect, Chase and many of his teammates spent a few years being the waterboys for some of Kellogg’s most talented teams and would almost compete for the right to bring water to the players.
It was that level of competitiveness that probably drove Chase to become the competitor that he is now.
“My brother Blake is eight years older than me, but he still went hard against me when we would play against one another,” Chase said. “There were a lot of times where I would go into the house crying because he wouldn’t let me score.”
Chase’s dad explained that his combination of kindness and competitiveness is what really shaped Chase as he grew up.
“Chase is a soft hearted guy with compassion while also being extremely competitive at anything he does,” Jeff said. “You can probably thank me and his older brother for punishing him through the years and never letting him win, he had to earn everything he did at a young age.”
Blake was also instrumental in getting Chase onto the golf course, a place that he has excelled, but he also had some help from some other unlikely sources.
“My brother really helped me with my golf game, but also I got a lot of help from my cousin Derek Jarvey,” Chase said. “I think my girlfriend has been a big help to my golf game.”
Chase’s girlfriend Kat Rauenhorst is a fantastic golfer in her own right, and is probably his toughest regular competition.
Jarvey was the premier golfer on Kellogg’s 2005 state championship golf team.
Chase had taken a break from football prior to this past season, but upon receiving some motivation (once again from his talented friends and family), he stepped into the role of quarterback in a brand new offense and managed to create something magical.
A text from his dad that said, “sure would be nice to see you on the field one last time,” may have gotten him in some hot water, but it was the final push Chase needed to get back into a helmet.
“We had a such a great year,” Chase said. “I was so fortunate to have the guys around me that I did this last year. Every stepped up and did their parts and it really made my job easier.”
True as that may be, Chase was masterful for the Wildcat football team, often times finding ways to extend plays and becoming a viable threat to throw the ball.
But his real passion was always basketball.
A passion he may have inherited from his grandfather Ralph Braun.
“My grandpa was a huge inspiration for me,” Chase said. “He was a part of the last Kellogg state championship basketball team (1964), I really wanted to bridge that gap and get the next one.”
Braun tragically passed away in November of 2011, before he ever got the chance to see Chase wear the Kellogg varsity uniform.
“That has always been something that bummed me out, I would have done anything for my grandpa to see me play in high school,” Chase said.
In the opinion of this writer, Mr. Braun (whom I met during my time as a Kellogg player) would have been proud of the legacy that his grandson(s) left behind at KHS.
Chase would dominate the Kellogg basketball scene from 2014-18, making an impact on varsity as a freshman and carrying that momentum into four straight state tournament appearances, but again, he doesn't claim it, he gives the credit to the people around him.
"My teammates are my family, without them I wouldn't have gotten to where I am," Jerome said. "Without coach (Jeff Nearing) and (Jeff) Lambert none of this would have been possible. I owe so much to my teammates and coaches."
And while most of the Silver Valley has been supportive of Chase’s success, his biggest supporter may be his mom, who looks at her son as much more than an athlete.
“By far the thing I’m most proud of is that Chase is a good human being who leads by example. He is genuine to the core and has compassion for others,” Jerome said. “He has this way of just drawing people in and will sit down and talk with anyone from young to old, anytime about anything. On many occasions throughout the past 4 years I’ve had parents from other teams come up to me and say, ‘are you Chase’s mom?’ boy we sure do love him and we don’t want to because we lose all the time to Kellogg, but we just can’t help but love him, he’s such a great kid. I’ve had numerous local KHS alumni tell me that Chase is exactly the type of person and athlete every future Kellogg Wildcat should strive to be like and has set a great example for young kids coming up. As a parent that’s all you can ask for.”
Chase has also been a solid student as well, maintaining a B average for his grades and plans on pursuing a career in physical therapy following graduation.
I have a feeling that he’ll probably be great at that too ...