Student Athlete Alex Petry Defies Stereotypes

By: Morgan Sharbaugh

Alex Petry is a sophomore at Bellbrook High School, and he continues to astound people with his grades and skills on the field. Petry plays four sports, two of which occur at the same time, and maintains good grades in advanced classes.

Petry plays football, basketball, lacrosse, and runs cross country. For football, lacrosse, and cross country, he is on the varsity team. He has such dedication that during the cross county and football season, he gets up to go run every morning at 5:30, then proceeds to got to lifting before school. After school, he goes to football practice from 3:00-6:00. In the winter he lifts twice a day, once before school, then after school for basketball.  Most of his life is eat, sleep, sports, repeat.

During the school day, Petry goes from a challenging class to another challenging class, no break for a study hall. For example, Petry takes pre-calculus and biomedical sciences along with honors 10 English. At the end of the day, Petry says he only has four classes worth of homework, and that he accomplishes within in an hour and a half. Throughout the year Petry typically maintains a 3.8 GPA.

Effects of Four Sports and a Heavy School Day

Even with four sports, Petry manages to stay healthy. His body doesn’t break down due to overuse. Petry says, “The only effect all this has on my body is muscle soreness so I go see Angela [the sports trainer for the high school] to get rolled out.” In order to keep muscle soreness his only problem, Petry goes to Fast Twitch, a program that helps with speed and injury prevention. The hardest part with how his body reacts to how much physical activity Petry partakes in is the physical wall. Around six weeks into the season Petry hits a wall: his body doesn’t want to work, he seems to not be improving as much, and there’s nothing he can really do but to keep working hard, then eventually the wall melts away.

Petry also does well maintaining stress levels. Between school and the demands of being a varsity athlete, most athletes become very stressed which has negative effects. Petry says, “I typically only stress about my performance but not that much. I try to only think one step ahead at a time. If I have a test next period, I focus on that, or if I have a game that night, I focus on how I will perform.”

Why Alex Petry Does What He Does

When Petry was younger, he wasn’t in the shape he is in now. He was the “fat kid,” and he was bullied for it. When Petry hit the sixth-grade growth spurt, he shot up and found what was once flab to be muscle. He started to get really competitive and whenever people told him he couldn’t do something, he worked hard until he could do it. Petry’s drive is to prove people wrong.

Along with proving people wrong, Petry grew up in a competitive household. Although he is an only child, he got the sibling experience with his dad. Petry says, “My dad and I will wrestle, and when I was younger he would win all the time, and now I can beat him and I know when I’ve beaten him, especially because he doesn’t like to lose.” Petry’s dad played football throughout his own childhood, and then into high school. Petry has the support and experience of his dad’s athletic career. Petry’s mom, on the other hand, never played sports but she’s the chauffeur and his moral support. At every game she’s there, and during those summer lacrosse practices, she drives him 1.5 hours to Cincinnati and back.

Petry also wants to break stereotypes, “Everyone thinks football players are just meatheads and don’t get me wrong some of them are, but most are good people,” he says. Petry wants people to notice and realize that football players are smart good people. They don’t all go to parties and drink, and most of them don’t partake in the vaping epidemic. Petry wants to break the meathead stereotype.

Petry also enjoys being part of a team. With cross country, it’s a team effort for each individual to improve every race, pushing the team farther in the standings. With football, if one person doesn’t pull their weight, the team falls apart. With lacrosse, each player has their own unique style and as a team, each player gets to know that style forming a tight bond. With each team he’s on, Petry enjoys the encouragement, and how well he gets to know everyone.

Pre-game Routine

As a varsity athlete, Petry needs to pay attention to what he does pre-game. Typically he will get rolled out, then sleep on the bus. Once he hits the locker room, the earbuds go in and the thoughts go out. It’s very important for him to start a game with a clear mind, and that he doesn’t worry about how he’ll perform. After about 15 minutes, he starts his warmup and then goes out and plays.

Petry doesn’t worry about the coaches’ expectations before a game: he only worries about his own. Like most athletes, Petry puts high expectations on himself and when he doesn’t meet them he pushes himself harder. Those expectations get higher with every game.

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