MISSION – It’s an early morning at Mission Veterans High School. Hundreds of Patriot athletes are on the track, looking to get a head start for next year’s athletic activities.
“It’s fun when you’re with your friends, but getting up is the hard part,” said soon-to-be senior Axel Hernandez. “Once you get here with your friends, the music, it gets fun.”
When Mission Veterans football coach David Gilpin took over the program nine years ago, he implemented a summer workout program that’s open to all athletes. Not just football players.
“Our summer conditioning program used to have 40, 50 kids show up and that was it,” said Gilpin. “We have slowly built this. Last year, we got over 250 for the first time. To me, that’s the hallmark of building a program. Your kids are buying in and participating.”
Coaches volunteer their time to run kids through drills. Some of the participants even come from the middle school level.
“You look at older people doing the work and you improve on it,” said incoming freshman Pedro Salinas. “Now I’m actually seeing improvement and I’m kind of getting up there to them. Right behind them when we do our sprints.”
Multi-sport athlete Mackenzie Gerlach has attended since seventh grade.
“The atmosphere is fun,” said Gerlach. “Everyone is real encouraging. Always pushing you to be better and it’s a big family that you work out with.”
The Patriots will gather four days a week for six weeks.