The expectations of student-athletes can be hard to live up to. Imagine going to school and trying to keep your grades up like everyone else, but on top of that, having a demanding schedule that entails practices everyday and a meet or game every other day. Now on top of that, add weights first thing in the morning and three more rigorous practices for completely different sports after school. Even though it sounds unbelievable, for junior Alex Hernandez, it is just another day.
“It’s extremely stressful because you are trying to keep all your coaches happy, and I can only do so much,” Hernandez said. “I can’t be at three places at once.”
Hernandez is 6-foot-two, 260 pounds during fall and 220 during the winter, and has been a 3-sport athlete since seventh grade. While the chaotic schedule is not for everyone, he admits what has really helped him is the high standards that his teachers hold him to. He says that they that remain strict on deadlines and never let him slack.
“I’ve learned to accept failure with gratitude and learn from them,” Hernandez said. “I never lose. I learn.”
During the fall season, Hernandez was involved with the Warren Central football team that won state this year. He plays center for the Warriors’ offensive line. Just like the other fall sports, pre-season workouts start in the second semester of the previous school year and through the summer to help prepare the athletes for the demanding season that kicks off right when school starts back up.
“When football season actually starts, it takes up my whole life. So unlike other sports, when I start football, I can’t really go out or go to my other practices,” Hernandez said. “I can never do off-season work for wrestling. Sometimes I just want to hang out with my friends, but you have to make sacrifices.”
After football season, Hernandez is thrown into another loop for the Winter season, participating in another sport with a chaotic schedule and rigorous tasks: wrestling. This past year, the Warren Central wrestling team won second at team state. The wrestlers also have their preseason during the summer and through the fall season, when Hernandez plays football. Although being a part of many athletics in his sports career, Hernandez admits that this season is the most difficult of all the others he participates in.
“Not only do I have to watch my weight and what I eat and drink, but unlike football and track, it’s constant motion,” Hernandez said. “Wrestling is just non-stop.”
Hernandez finishes his year with his spring season, where he participates in track and field and competes in shotput and discus. Last year, he threw 145-feet and seven-inches to win the sectional championships. Even with all these accomplishments in athletics, he stresses that confidence is a major key for success.
“You can be big or fast, but if you don’t have confidence, it’ll show on the field or on the mat,” Hernandez said. “Other than confidence, you just need to stay healthy and ready to compete.”
Physically, the only times he has been held back in his athletic career was when he tore his MCL and injured his PCL. The torn MCL took Hernandez out of the national championships for wrestling, and it took his entire sophomore football season away. The PCL took him out of a football game and kept him in rehab for the recurring pain he had.
“I’ve learned from my injuries, so now I know that if I’m hurting, the best I can do is go to [the trainers] and get better and not play through pain,” Hernandez said. “I have knowledge on the process and what getting better takes so I don’t rush the process of healing.”
Outside of high-school athletics, Hernandez is the historian for Warren Central Student Council. Staying true to this athletic roots, he also coaches the middle schools and elementary schools in the district for track and wrestling, all while maintaining a 3.2 GPA.
“Even though it’s really stressful and hard, being a 3-sport athlete has its benefits. It’s really fun, and I met a lot of friends and coaches I’ve built really good relationships with,” Hernandez said. “I can’t see my life without it.”
Sidebar of all his accomplishments: Folkstyle State 4th place, Freestyle state 4th place, Greco state 2nd place, Discus Sectional Champ '18, Football state champs '18, Wrestling team state runner ups, Student council officer. Warren Central OWL athlete of the month (insert date here)