Sports editor Jared McMurry prompted area coaches with the task of nominating athletes who went above and beyond during the pandemic. The following are responses from Fountain Central fall athletes.
Seth Gayler, Football
Fountain Central quarterback Seth Gayler knew he had to be ready to lace up his cleats when the Mustangs hit the field in August. Once the early quarantine portion of the COVID-19 pandemic was over, Indiana high school athletes knew when they would return to activities, and players like Gayler had to be prepared.
“It got a little hard trying to find motivation at some points but I think what helped was the fact that we knew we were going to come back and continue like normal and have that drive since we had so much time off from a normalized practice,” he said.
Gayler spent time on his own throwing, running, and lifting — to make sure he wouldn’t lose anything that he gained once they returned. He feels like many of his teammates did the same.
“Even though I think our team could have benefited from not being away from each other and missing a lot from a normal practice,” he said. “I think that the hard work myself and my team put in helped us to recover quickly and get back on track to where we needed to be.”
Jacob Keeling, Boys Tennis
Fountain Central senior Jacob Keeling helped the Mustangs win a fourth-straight boys’ tennis sectional title this fall, and his hard work during the offseason and during quarantine helped him get there.
“It was kind of hard, but I made it work,” he said. “If you want to get better, the offseason is definitely the time to do it. It took more time and effort but I made it work. I had to find different courts to play on and different people to play tennis with.”
Keeling said he missed playing in annual summer tournaments, but made sure to try and hit the courts at least once or twice a week. In the end all the hard work paid off.
“Yes I definitely feel like my hard work paid off,” Keeling said. “Before every season, you make up your individual goals and the team goals that you want to achieve. Some of my goals were to win another sectional, win WRC as an individual and a few more. Although some goals didn’t get accomplished, I’m proud of my teammates this season. One thing that I was really excited about was the fact that we were able to finish the season. I wanted to finish the season and mainly have fun every single day while we were out on the courts and we definitely accomplished that, but it wasn’t easy.”