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The Activities Matter - Student Spotlight Blog

October Student Spotlight
 10/27/2017 12:00:00 AM


Joe Strecker, Manson HS, second from left

By the end of his junior year, Joe Strecker had just finished fourth in the boys 4x100 meter relay at the WIAA State Track and Field Championships, and was a varsity member of both Manson HS football and basketball teams. Strecker, who is now a senior on the league-leading Trojan football team, would have never predicted these accomplishments when he entered high school three years ago.

“This is my first year being a pretty good athlete,” Strecker said. “I came into high school kind of anything but an athlete, so it’s been kind of a process to get where I am.”

Even though Strecker came into high school not considering himself an athlete, he enjoyed playing so much that he decided to make athletics a part of his high school experience in a big way. Strecker is now the starting running back, football team captain, and basketball captain for the Trojans.

“This is the best sports season of my life, so far,” he said. “I went from having one touchdown and maybe a couple hundred rushing yards last year, to close to 1,000 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns this year already.”

His dedication to sports has not diminished, as he is involved in other leadership activities at his school. He serves as the ASB vice president, FBLA treasurer, and Honors Society member. His determination and perseverance transformed his abilities one year at a time.

“He made himself into an athlete,” Manson Head Varsity Coach Joey Johanson said. “And that determination has carried over into other parts of his life such as school.”

Coach Johanson is new this year as the Manson football head coach, but he has witnessed this transformation since joining the staff for during spring football. He speaks highly of Strecker and his natural leadership skills, as well as his adaptability, positive mindset and determination.

“Joe’s emotions are always in check because he knows other players are watching to see how he reacts,” Johanson said. “He will be the first teammate to pick someone up when they mess up. The Joe Streckers of high school sports are the reason I love coaching.”

So far this season, Manson football is 6-1, and continuing to rise each week. The season got off to an exciting start, when Manson beat Oroville for the first time in 15 years. Coach Johanson attributes much of this success to the buy-in he has received from Strecker and the entire team, since he arrived at Manson.

“We play together and we play for each other,” Strecker said. “We always have each other’s back. We’re all really close this year.”

The Manson football team has contributed to more than just the win column this season. Strecker and his teammates have made an impact in the community by setting up for Kiwanis events, and providing manual labor services around town, including setting up the downtown Manson light posts.

Strecker, left

On his own, Strecker mentors a couple elementary school kids and referees youth football. For Strecker, balancing everything has never been an issue, and it shows on and off the field.

Strecker’s current GPA is 3.7, and he has racked up around 55 college-level credits through courses offered at Manson. He wants to attend Gonzaga University next year, but he is also considering playing football for a smaller school.

“I’m in love with the Gonzaga campus and atmosphere,” Strecker says. “But I’m also in love with sports. There’s a lot to choose from, it’s kind of overwhelming.”

Although Strecker has only been a varsity athlete for a couple years, his newfound joy has made him aware of the importance of participating in sports and extra-curricular activities.

“There’s a lot to be learned from football and sports besides how to play,” Strecker said. “So much to be learned from extra-curriculars, whether it be leadership skills, perseverance, dedication. You pick up life lessons you can use once you’re out of school and done with sports.”

Strecker’s relationship with his first-year coach has been brief, but their values of teamwork are right in step with one another. Because of this, Johanson is confident that Strecker will find success after high school, regardless of what he decides to pursue.

“I believe sports and activities are the closest representation of life,” Johanson said. “We lose, have bad games, and even disagree with each other, but we work through it. Sports showed me that it is possible to work through problems and that if groups are going to succeed, it takes the whole group buying in. If we as coaches show the importance of teamwork, our athletes will be more successful and hopefully selfless in life.” 


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