When we hear about someone who is the best at their sport we usually think of someone who is always doing their best at a meet or game, and is constantly practicing. We can see them waking up early and getting to a field, pool, or weight room to start practice, and they stay up late making sure they are in great shape. When we think of these champions we can attribute their talent to plenty of things like hard work, family, and a love for their sport. And here at Franklin Central a great example of this would be Nathan Bennett.
Bennett, a junior at Franklin Central, has been playing on the high school soccer team every year. Not only has he played for the school for three years he has also played for another 13 years in his local recreation league, where he still plays during the off season.
But where does someone find a passion for athletics, let alone one of the many sports from around the world? Bennett says he found his passion for soccer in second grade. “I would probably say when I first moved to Indiana, I was probably in second grade when I first started really getting into soccer and it just clicked for me immediately.” says Bennett.
Through the years Bennett says that he had tried some other sports besides soccer, but none of them seemed to stick. “My enjoyment for soccer just was a lot more than any of the other sports that I had tried, so I decided early on to just do soccer.”
After 13 years of soccer, Bennett was ready to switch things up from club soccer. Starting his freshman year of high school Bennett tried out for the soccer team. He was one of the talented and skilled players of the freshman team to make the junior varsity and skip playing for the freshman team. His teammate Ivan Weaver says that Bennett has always been a good player.
“He's played like, pretty at a high level like freshman year he made JV and then sophomore year, he was on varsity as well as this year. I think that he's brought a lot of experience from being on varsity as an underclassmen, and now he's an upperclassman,” says Weaver.
Bennett’s go-getter attitude and exceptional behavior both combined to lead him as a nominee, and winner, for on the August Athletes of the month. Weaver says that Bennett is great at keeping up the morale on the field. Weaver says “Nathan's very fun on and off the field. He communicates really well, he's probably one of the most talkative kids on the field. And he's a bit more quiet. But he's still really fun to be around and talk to.”
But personality and grades aren’t the only thing that qualified Bennett for Athlete of the Month. His teammates and coaches all notice his tenacity and hard working attitude. Weaver says that Bennett plays one of the toughest positions on the field and is great at it, “It's just midfield, you're up and down the field, the whole game. And he plays that very well. He's the person I would recommend the most for any kind of award.”
Shawn Hibbitt, the new FC soccer coach, has been very observant of the team over the course of their winter training season until now, and he’s noticed Bennetts work ethic.
Hibbitt says “The first thing I did when I was asked for a nomination for August Athlete of the Month was I looked to my coaches, and I asked them all their opinion. I thought about it myself and the person on the field who worked the hardest, the most consistently and kept a positive attitude throughout all of the trials and tribulations that were going on in the season, and Nathan was just that guy. He had such consistency in every game. And in the classroom, academically, he was very good. So it was kind of an easy decision to make. All the assistant coaches, every single one brought up his name, I asked them all for two names. And every single one he was consistent with everybody wanted him on that list.”
Bennett winning the athlete of the month felt very rewarding, he says, but it wasn’t enough as he says “I don't think Athlete of the Month is that big of a reward? To be honest, So not really. It's not the biggest deal, but something nice and I’m aiming towards some bigger goals.” Showing off the tenacity that his teammates and coaches are so proud of, Bennett is striving for some bigger goals, and making big waves in the soccer community.
Aiden Murray is a student writer for The Pilot Flashes, Franklin Central's newspaper. Issues of The Pilot Flashes are printed quarterly. If you are interested in becoming a Pilot Patron and donate to offset printing costs, please contact the teacher sponsor Daniel Lichtenberger at email@example.com.