Coach and Mentor, by Annika Ermold

Annika with Coach Trevor

Hello everyone! I wanted to take the time and write about a person who has been very influential and has helped me a lot, and that person would be my throwing coach Trevor Stutzman. Ever since I started working with him my eighth grade year, he has not only helped me become a better thrower, but also has taught me some great life lessons that I can use in sports and in other areas of my life. I remember the first day I walked into Garage Strength and met Trevor, he told me how much potential he saw in me and from that day on I knew I wanted him to train me to be the best.

When the summer of my freshman year came around, I knew that I wanted to just pursue track and field, so I gave up everything for a sport I did not really know about, but he said that everything would be worth it. Freshman indoor season came around and I had improved eleven feet in the shot put from just my eighth grade year, and after that I knew that I had made the right decision and with his help I was officially a one sport athlete focused on the throws in track and field. Once outdoor started, I was able to improve two feet from the winter with a mark of 36 feet (which for a freshman is a pretty solid mark). This mark qualified me for the District III Championship meet, which is an honor to make, especially as a freshman. Sadly, I ended up getting last place and I even bawled my eyes out after the meet, but Trevor gave me a huge hug and reminded me that I was only a freshman and still had three more years to prove myself as a thrower.

I used his advice and pushed myself even harder during the summer, knowing that I was going to redeem myself sophomore year. He helped me through so much during the fall, and before I knew it the indoor season had approached. I made the indoor state meet as a sophomore, and even though I did not do as well as I had wanted to, he kept giving me great advice and reminded me that I was still an underclassman and that this was a great experience to learn from. Then, the pandemic came around, which had hurt me in a way mentally and emotionally because I was not able to see anyone, but he checked in on me to see how I was doing and I was able to do zoom training sessions, which was a lot better than doing nothing at all. I was lucky enough that he was able to set up some meets over the summer, where I improved around three feet in the shot put and had a huge improvement of twenty-six feet in the discus, which of course would have never happened without his amazing coaching skills and his great personality.

Going into my junior year, I had high goals of medaling at states and qualifying for nationals, and he always had the utmost confidence in me and would make me feel better about myself. I ended up qualifying for indoor nationals, and had a great experience and was happy he traveled that far to support me and my other teammates that were competing. Once outdoor started, I also had goals of breaking at least one of my school records, and he believed in me every step of the way even when I lost confidence in myself. He was at the meet where I broke my school record for the shot put, and after that both him and I knew that it was going to be a very special year. After the county meet, I told him my goals for districts and states, and he kept believing in me. I wanted to redeem myself from how I performed at districts my freshman year, and I ended up becoming district champion in shot put and got a bronze medal in the discus, meaning I earned a trip to states in both events! After each of my events, I gave him a huge hug and he kept telling me how proud he was of me, but that there was one goal left, which was to medal at states. Going into the state meet, I had huge anxiety and had no idea what to expect, especially since the weather was in no one’s favor, but I knew that I just wanted to get onto the podium and have him be proud of me. After receiving my first medal for discus, I knew he was happy, but I also knew I needed to medal one more time so that I could fulfill my biggest season goal. After a somewhat rough series in the shot put with a good last throw, I was able to take fifth place, meaning I had medaled in both of my events. He had inspired me so much, especially this past track season, and I could not ask for a better coach/mentor. Thank you for everything Trevor! Cannot wait to see what senior year brings.

Another idea I wanted to add was how consistency in coaching has gotten me to the point I am at today. Because I have had the same coach since eighth grade, my training has been very consistent and I know what to expect each day at practice. Being consistent allows me to focus better on my training, which yields better results in the long run. Having a coach that will always be there for you will help better performances as well, and I can say that Trevor has always been there for me, which has helped me become a better thrower.