Freshman athletes transition towards newfound high school competition

By attending team workouts and lifting sessions, freshman athletes hope to attract the attention of coaches in the off season to secure their spot on one of the high school teams.

Hoping to make an impact in high school sports, freshman athletes work out with various teams over the offseason to prepare for the upcoming winter and spring sports seasons.
Although the fall sports season has ended, the demanding and strenuous offseason workouts have just begun for winter and spring athletes.
Freshmen in all upcoming sports are working hard to prove their worth, in order to ensure they are chosen at tryouts for their respective teams.
According to freshman Nathan Fickert, “[High school sports] are a lot more of a commitment,” Fickert said. “In middle school it was just practice every day after school, but for high school, we have stuff on weekends, too, and then you’ve got offseason in the summer.”
Fickert ran his first year for the cross country team this fall on the junior varsity team.
Hoping to compete with older and more experienced upperclassmen, many freshman athletes lift weights and attend the optional offseason team workouts and practices.
“There’s bigger people to go up against, and a lot of people who are stronger and better than I am,” freshman Jake Milnes said, who played for the JV soccer team this fall.
“It was much more difficult going up against the bigger teams,” Milnes said. “I definitely need to make it to some more of the workouts in the offseason if want to compete for a starting spot next year.”
Coaches also realize some of the difficulties that freshmen face in transitioning from middle school to high school level.
“When freshmen start out, they just don’t have the power and speed that some of the older guys have that are on the JV and varsity teams,” freshman baseball coach Ken Meyers said. “They eventually catch up to speed, but the transition for freshmen can be really difficult and sometimes awkward, just because they aren’t familiar with how things are at the high school level.”
Although many freshman athletes struggle under the workload and the pressure that being a high school athlete entails, some of them express positivity regarding their experience.
“I liked it a lot,” Milnes said, “I just liked that we had a lot of games, and I liked my coach. I thought he was pretty nice.”
Fickert also had a positive view concerning high school sports mostly because of all the time players spend with other members of their teams.
“There’s a lot more chemistry and bonding with the people on your team,” Fickert said. According to Fickert, that team bonding opportunities like parties and games were some of his favorite things about cross country.
Even though high school sports are more of a commitment than in middle school, they are also “laid back, sometimes,” according to Fickert.
“I think high school sports can be laid back because they have a lot more time to work with,” Fickert said.
Some more experienced athletes also have a positive perspective of high school sports after having multiple opportunities to experience the environment and atmosphere that come along with high school athletics.
“Even though high school sports can be a grind,” sophomore Aidan McClure said, “overall my first two years of soccer and last year for basketball has been a great experience. I would recommend doing sports to any freshmen who are interested.”