FHC champions know what it takes to be a champion

FHC champions know what it takes to be a champion

Jessica Borowsky, Sports Reporter

“The vision of a champion is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion, when nobody else is looking.” – Mia Hamm.

When most people think about a champion, all they see is success. They see talent, agility, and winning. Most do not see the countless hours of training, the bruises of facing a difficult opponent, or emotions of a loss when thinking about champions. They don’t realize that any dedicated athlete sacrifices blood, sweat, and tears for a sport they love. Winning, for any student-athlete at Forest Hills Central, is not given; it is earned through hard work and dedication.

Walking through the halls of Forest Hills Central, one almost travels through time. You see trophies, banners, and plaques all recognizing the success teams have earned throughout the years. Both staff and students have a great sense of pride for the teams they were once on and currently participate in. Above all that, Forest Hills Central highly recognizes championships that are won.

“I think high school soccer has helped me develop leadership skills and made me want to represent my school the best I can. High school soccer brings a different aspect with friendships and playing for your school,” said senior Natalie Lunt, a defender for the girls soccer team who helped carry her team to a State Championship this past spring.

For students who have won a championship, they understand that the feeling is unreal and like no other; a once in a lifetime win. Behind that championship title stands a team that is driven and persistent, focused on one particular goal: success.

Factors vary in importance, but one crucial aspect of any team is chemistry. The ability to know your teammates, how they play, and how you can connect with them betters your chances of success.

Senior Bryce Clay, who won a state championship in lacrosse his sophomore year, comments on this crucial aspect of any team.

“To win a state title, a team needs to be one unit,” Bryce said. “We really focus on bonding and the overall chemistry within our team. There are many special aspects to winning a state title, but chemistry and knowing that your teammates have your back is critical.”

Besides chemistry, comes hard work at practice. Players must put in all they have to prepare for upcoming games. At practice, teams study their opponents’ tactics and prepare for them. Teams also focus on areas of work; areas that will make the team well-rounded and more aggressive. Individual leaders of these teams strive to show their best effort as an example for their team and to drive their teammates to work their hardest as well.

“I focus on fixing basic and complex shots and also increasing the overall team skill level when hitting with them. You should not focus just on yourself, but also others during practice,” saidsenior Connor Genschaw who won back-to-back team State Championships in tennis his freshman and sophomore year and also an individual State Championship this fall.

Throughout the years at Forest Hills Central sports have been primed for success in the conference, but not as much so for playoffs. Over the years though, it almost seems as if a build-up of talented players takes place. Recently, teams thrive and often show success in playoffs. These years, champions arise. Coaches and players know of their talent and are focused on that one championship game, a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“I think we all encouraged each other and pushed each other to work hard going into playoffs to help us prepare the best we could for more difficult games,” Natalie said when explaining how the soccer team prepared to go into playoffs this past spring.

Last spring, the soccer team had a total of ten college committed players and other highly talented individuals that all benefited the team to win the Division 1 state title.

On the other hand, coaches treat championship games completely normal. On the inside, they may be anxious just like any other player on the team, but on the outside, they are controlling the emotions of the team. Even though they are not playing, coaches are a key component to any championship team. During the offseason coaches make sure players continue to practice and stay in shape and during the regular season, they keep players competitive and in the mindset to win.

Once your team advances to the championship there is not much else coaches can do but keep a team organized. Teams have prepared for this game all season, and now that they are there, they are eager to play.

“I get out of the way. They were ready, all they needed was a little bit of direction and organization,” said Jeremy Stacy who was the head coach of the state champion soccer team. “That is your goal as a coach really. If you are in a championship game, you are hopeful you have built a system and created a group that can adjust without it falling on your shoulders to make changes, motive, etc. We as coaches have little to do with what happens on the field once that whistle blows.”

When teams win championships, it usually means many of those players are going to continue their athletic career in college. Throughout the years at Forest Hills Central many athletes have signed to play Division 1, 2, and 3 sports. These athletes have committed countless hours towards their sport and helped lead their team to their success in a championship game.

“I am playing at Indiana University and I am super excited because I have been waiting for a while and I am excited to take my soccer career to the next level,” said Natalie, who is going to further her soccer career at a Division 1 school.

Although some teams are composed of a great deal of talent, they do not always win championships. Along the way, they might face talented opponents who just happen to be more composed and are a tough team to beat. These losses do not define champions though, how they react the following year is what matters.

“My sophomore year we were dialed in and focused at all times, we held ourselves accountable and got the job done,” said Bryce, who was an important member of the lacrosse team last spring.

The lacrosse team lost last season in the State Championship to East Grand Rapids.

So, as many have thought in the past, champions are defined by success. But that is a false accusation. Champions are defined by their hard work, hours of practice, leadership, and determination. They turn losses into learning opportunities and do not take winning for granted. Champions always strive to get better.