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Athlete training hard to make the varsity team

If you want to start on the high school sports team, one has to be willing to work hard during the offseason to get better.

High school athletes use the summer to start training for the upcoming year. Each athlete knows that if they are to catch the coach’s eye they have to train hard and work and use the summer to get better.

This translates into hitting the weights and going to any camps one can get into.

The strength and conditioning coach for the high school, (among other duties) Craig Rieger, pushes all the athletes to work hard and get stronger over the summer, not just the football team.

“In the past, I had athletes like Elias Armendariz and Zach Weldon, who worked almost too hard,” he said. “Those kind of athletes I had to worry about training too hard.”

He said that’s not the case anymore.

“Today though, I don’t have the problem of the kids working too hard. Some kids though work too hard on one sport and suffer from burnout. Those kids you can tell are not having fun anymore in their sport. You can see it in their eyes and you can tell by their attitude.”

Danny Washum, a Trojans basketball player, is a good example of an athlete who knows he has to go that extra mile. He is one of those athletes that has to work extra hard to make it to the varsity level. He has taken to heart what the coaches are telling him and he knows he won’t play unless he improves his game.

Last year he didn’t make the Trojans varsity basketball program, in fact he had a hard time playing for the junior varsity program, where Trojans varsity coach John Toomer said he got little playing time.

Toomer agrees he works hard, but said what kept Washum on the bench was that he had no organized basketball experience prior to high school.

“He needs to take what he learns in practice and apply it during game time,” the coach said. “He struggles with pressure and needs to work on his defense. Basketball is not all shooting. There is ball handling too.”

Washum has taken what the coach has said to heart and will be training hard over the summer.

“My dream is to make it to the NBA,” Washum said. “I practice basketball at home every day.”

Washum plays basketball in the winter, and runs track in the summer and knows if he wants to make the varsity team he has to train hard this summer.

Part of his training will start by going to the Gil Llewellyn basketball camp on June 6. Washum got noticed for his efforts and his work ethic and received a scholarship from two businesses in town, Mom’s Diner and If I Maye Clothing Co.

“I was more than happy to help Danny out,” Brett Chumley, owner of Mom’s Diner said.

Chumley and Mike Maye, owner of the other business that sponsored Washum took the time from their day on Wednesday to meet Washum and talk to him.

Trojans athletic director Ed Kirkwood said Danny Washum has a lot of heart and was not surprised he was training hard.

“Danny is not a shy kid,” Kirkwood said. “He came up to me and asked me if I thought he should run track. He is that kind of kid that if he needs information he asks a lot of questions. I told him it would be good for his basketball and so he ran track. I have seen him play and he is not afraid to shoot the ball and he has good form.”

In addition to the camp, Washum will be training with George Arceo, a fitness and weight trainer who helps out a lot of athletes in Pahrump. Arceo works out regularly with amateur MMA fighter Brandon Schneider.

“I will be working with Danny on his strength, endurance and then plyometrics (jumping ability),” Arceo said. “We will work on his running speed, his jumping, but I need to wake up his muscles first.”

Washum said he went to Arceo to put on some more pounds on his five foot eight frame and to get stronger and is working part-time jobs to pay for the weight training.

“I have been working for my father,” he said. “But I am also willing to work for anyone else who needs help.”

The young athlete spent years working at his dad’s cafe in Shoshone and now Pahrump, so he has plenty of restaurant experience.

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at vhee@pvtimes.com

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