Working with young athletes allows you to impact a life in an exciting time of transition and growth.  As coaches, we have a responsibility and the fortunate opportunity to influence these young people in a positive manner.  I truly believe we are a product of those around us.  This means our young athletes are not operating on a one-way street, they impact us too.

This year’s class of senior athletes at IFAST are a special group.  Each one comes with their own unique personality, ambitions and hurdles to overcome.  Each athlete approaches their training differently, yet they all finish at similar destinations.  That destination is success.

Here are our IFAST seniors:

Keegan Watson (baseball) – New Palestine High School – Committed to the University of Nebraska

Maria Schorr (volleyball) – Cathedral High School – Committed to the University of Dayton

Anna Young (swimming) – Hamilton Southeastern High School – Indiana University

Michael Ertel (basketball) – Mt. Vernon High School – Committed to the University of Louisiana Monroe

Tommy Sommer (baseball) – Carmel High School – Committed to Indiana University

Jaclyn Bulmahn (volleyball) – Mt. Vernon High School – Committed to Valparaiso University

Drew Hartmann (football/track) – Noblesville High School – University of Cincinnati

Trenton Hatfield (football) – Muncie Central High School – Committed to Illinois State

Gwen Joseph (rock climbing) — Westfield High School – Purdue University

This group consists of a valedictorian, academic all conference and all state, two big ten athletes, 7 division 1 athletes, all state and all American team honors and 8 absolutely terrific human beings.

Their successes at IFAST include adding 6 inches to a vertical jump in an offseason (2 athletes did this), taking 0.2 off their sprint time, adding throwing velocity to their pitch and exit velocity to their swing and much more.

These measurables are great and ultimately it is what they pay for here at IFAST.  They want improved athleticism in order to dominate their sport and we deliver.  However, these athletes are successful outside of IFAST and outside of their sports, and that is why they are special.

Maybe the biggest reason I feel so strongly towards this group is the community they help build at IFAST.  Parents may not like it, but I love that kids want to hang around so long at IFAST that parents waiting in the car have to come in and get them.  Parents coming in also gives the athlete the chance to show mom and dad how their power clean is improving or their increase in weight on the squat or how fast they are sprinting a sled down the turf now with hundreds of pounds on it.  This group learned to train together, they connected with each other in the gym and outside of it.  Some became friends with each other, some went through “shared suffering” together with workout challenges.  We had an intern even teach a group of these athletes how to hip hop dance.  I haven’t even mentioned the hours of Spike Ball that has been played by these athletes with each other.

I am truly proud of every one of these kids.  They brought energy and enthusiasm to the gym every day.  The willingness to be coached, take steps back when necessary so we can move forward better, battle through adversity with injuries and their attitude of competitiveness while encouraging each other was an awesome thing to be a part of.  I eagerly wait to see their future successes.

Good luck seniors!!

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