Casteel High School has become a hotbed for high level performing athletes during its short existence. With athletes accepting offers to top-ranking schools such as Washington State and Yale University, it comes as no surprise. Casteel is currently hosting some high performing athletes who are ready to make the jump. I had an opportunity to sit down with some of these athletes and coaches and find out what it takes to get to the next level.
Determination to compete; a desire to perform. Jacob Hullings, a student representative of Varsity Track, and Coach Whalen, the head coach for the two-time defending state pom program both described this attribute as one of their answers. Not only should a student-athlete aspire to perform well in their sport, but should consistently have an inner fire to improve. Every day.
Brock Dieu, a member of the Varsity Football team, explained his answer this way: “The drive to compete supersets the good from the great because if you truly want to compete you will do everything in your power to be better than those around you… .” Here at Casteel, students understand that the competition is fierce. When an athlete puts everything he or she can into being competitive – with themselves or others – they learn to compete at a higher level on the field.
Mental Strength/Ability to Focus
Coach Huston, a coach for the Casteel golf team (which boosts the 3rd and 4th ranked golfer in the state), and Hullings both expressed the importance of mental toughness and the ability to focus. Not only is it the ability to focus, but the ability to focus despite distractions. Sometimes those distractions are other teammates, a situation, or even themselves. As Hullings says, athletes should posses the “mental strength to be able to get through school and still be able to perform at a high level.” Sometimes, athletes forget that school is just as important as their sport. A high-performing athlete understands the balance.
Consistency In Discipline
Coach Mussleman, the weights coach here at Casteel, and Coach Whalen both responded to the question with the word “discipline.” Discipline (in this context) is when an athlete consistently practices and performs in the fine balance between work and play. They understand that there is a time when absolute focus is not only expected but is necessary. Lower level athletes have trouble grasping this concept. Mussleman explained the concept this way: “They enjoy the process as much as the competition.” If an athlete doesn’t enjoy practice, they won’t work hard enough to enjoy the results. A hard pill to swallow for many athletes.
Strong Work Ethic
Lily Steenhard, a member of the Women’s Varsity Soccer team, used this phrase to describe a common trait of high performing athletes. When an athlete understands the importance of working hard, he or she will improve with each practice.
This trait is often confused with arrogance – something most people hate to see in others (especially athletes). Although, pure confidence can prove to be a valuable asset to a high performing athlete. Huston explained that these athletes are sure of themselves – but quietly. They live for their sport. “They live to define that moment.”
From the variety of valuable traits, it is clear to see that athletes at Casteel are pushing for something greater than just their sport. They are pushing to be better people; People who work hard in a certain aspect of their life. To be a high performing athlete at this school, not only one of these traits is necessary – but all of these traits. And the best part: athletes love the push.