Freshman conquers high school sports

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Rachel Kang

DOING WHATEVER IT TAKES: Freshman Andrew Penrod secures a tackle to avoid a big gain on the ground.

Abby Fang, News Editor

Some start high school with a slow steady jog; others hit the ground running. Triple threat freshman Andrew Penrod kicked off freshman year in the best way possible, tackling three different sports to become a master of all.

As a freshman, Penrod was already a linebacker for the Northwood Varsity Football team and a quarterback for the Freshman Football team, while also playing for Boys Junior Varsity Volleyball and Boys Frosh Basketball. He ended this year with an undefeated freshman season in football, just one of his many accomplishments. His involvement in sports has meant a lot to him even off the field.

“Honestly, I just love playing sports and winning. It’s one of the best feelings,” Penrod said. “Getting to know all of the upperclassmen has been one of my favorite moments as well.”

Penrod’s interest and love for the sport was first sparked nine years ago after watching the New England Patriots play on television. Following this, he began playing football in the Matt Leinart Flag Football League. He won his first football championship in second grade and went undefeated from fourth to eighth grade.

Last year, Penrod and his flag football team were selected to represent a professional football team at a national football tournament in Florida. Along with the opportunity to meet premier football players in the National Football League (NFL) at the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl such as Demarcus Ware, Penrod and his team placed among the top eight teams in the nation. At Northwood, Penrod’s skill and experience in football continues to be reflected in the contributions and dedication he brings to the Northwood team.

“Andrew was at every practice and game, not only helping his teammates by cheering them on, but also helping out the coaches,” Football Head Coach Paige Nobles said. “You rarely find someone with the right attitude, the knowledge and the love for the game. Andrew is a diamond in the rough.”

Behind his stellar accomplishments is also the story of an athlete who persevered through physical injuries and many other barriers. During the football season, Penrod broke his thumb twice and broke his toe at the last tackle practice of the season. The latter injury required toe surgery and took two months of recovery in order to be back at full strength. Penrod continues to juggle all three sports with school classes, a task that he tries to stay on top of despite its difficulty. He’s designed strategies to help alleviate this burden, such as making sure to do homework the day it’s assigned and optimizing his freetime.

Looking ahead to the future, Penrod’s dream has always been to play college football and eventually professional football. The road to professional football is difficult, but Penrod is ready to invest time and effort, a testament to his determined nature.

“Get ready for a lot of hard work and work through the pain,” Penrod said.