Student-athletes mark new beginnings

Clarkston News Sports Writer
Clarkston athletes signed their Letters of Intent during the fall and winter and Jeff Kosin didn’t want those who wanted to sign in the spring to be missed.
So the Clarkston High School Athletics Department had a virtual event for 13 seniors which included Kaitlyn Bridger, lacrosse, Northern Michigan University; Christian Collis, cross country/track and field; Courtney Farrugia, volleyball, Trine University; Brendan Favazza, cross country/track and field, Michigan State University; Rielee Fetty, soccer, University of Iowa; Shae Harbaugh, track and field, Michigan State University; Caylee Ludwig, soccer, Winona State University; Allison Osborn, track and field, United States Coast Guard Academy; Tyler Pabst, football, Bluffton University; Mia Patria, cross country/track and field, University of Arkansas Little Rock; Nate Sesti, cross country/track and field, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Cameron Thomas, ice hockey and golf, Cleary University; and Adam Zentner, tennis, Calvin University. 
“To be able to still do that for them and still celebrate them even in a different format – that was great,” said Kosin, athletic director. “Nothing replaces face-to-face, but we did have kids who missed the fall and the winter. This was an opportunity to give them the recognition through our community they rightfully deserved. You feel horrible they didn’t have the opportunity to do it in front of their peers, friends, family and The Clarkston News. So that’s when we went virtual.”
The virtual event is a 28-minute video on the Clarkston Athletics Facebook page.
“Krystal Bergman (Clarkston Athletics Secretary) did a hell of a job, I will be honest with you, getting everything together, organized and making sure those kids had their moment,” Kosin said.
It includes pictures of the seniors, when they started their sports, a special Clarkston memory, favorite pre-game meal and advice for younger Wolves. It also has well wishes from their coaches, Bergman, CHS Athletic Trainer Shane Kerbelis and Clarkston Junior High School Athletic Trainer Kellie George.
“I’m grateful we are able to celebrate all of you, together at home, in this way,” said Bergman. “It’s been so much fun to see you all grow as athletes over the years. As freshman jumping the shuttle and running through the halls to make it to practice on time to seniors reaching your potential, feeling confident and teaching the younger athletes the ropes. I think I’ve got the best seat in the house! You will be missed! Best of luck to all of you and as always, Go Wolves!”
George shared, “I met most of you when your high school athletic journey was just beginning. I helped some of you through the bumps and bruises of the game. I saw the gleam in your eye and your love of the sport! In the gym, on the field, in the cage, on the track, in the off season, you worked hard! Even though your senior year had its own bumps and bruises (COVID-19) and you were robbed of your senior season, you will compete again! So proud of you and all you have accomplished. Congrats on making it to the next level of competition.”
Kerbelis congratulated the signers and said, “know this year being cut short is a huge loss to your high school experience, but you have many years to make memories and to improve yourself in your sport. One of my favorite things as an athletic trainer is having athletes come back to Clarkston and share their athletic experiences at the college level. So come back and visit me and your coaches. As always, stay healthy and have fun being a college athlete.”
Kosin added for the spring athletes he held virtual senior nights on his Twitter account.
“We have been doing that – giving the seniors as much as we can,” he said. “Again, nothing replaces the real thing. It gives kids the opportunity to celebrate their successes as we have in the past just in a different format still making them feel special and still celebrating all the successes they have had with us.”
Here is some advice for younger Wolves from the seniors:
“Stay consistent in academics and athletics and continue to work hard even if you are already doing well.” -Shae Harbaugh
“Work as hard as you can and always push yourself and the guy next to you hard because in the end when you look back after your senior year you want to be able to say you left it all out there.” -Tyler Pabst
“Never quit during a game. You would be surprised how many games we have come back to win or tie up because we never gave up. But enjoy every moment even when it gets hard. The season flies by.” -Caylee Ludwig
“Nothing is worth doing is easy.” – Allison Osborn
“I would say to pick a team or a group of friends that will be there for you, challenge you and joke with you. Don’t get caught up in toxic friend groups that only see or comment on your faults. Find people what lift you up and inspire you to do better. Finding a team or friend group that you generally feel good to be around will allow you to grow no only as a student or athlete but as a person.” – Adam Zentner
“Hard work truly pays off. There are going to be bumps in the road but if you really want something and work for it eventually everything you work for will be worth it. Clarkston is a special place for athletes. Savor every moment and just enjoy it.” – Courtney Farrugia
“Even though things don’t fall into your place, always give your 100 percent.” – Cameron Thomas
“Always work your hardest and never give up, impact those around you, and be the best version of yourself. Remember to have fun and enjoy what God gave you.” -Rielee
“My advice for the younger Wolves is my classic phrase all of my teammates have hear me say many times, ‘Go grit ‘em.’ It’s like saying ‘go get them’ but instead grit.’ If you can grit, you can achieve. Grit is pushing even when it gets tough, persevering through the challenge when you think you can’t do it anymore, and doing more when you want to give up. I always say that grit is the strength inside your heart, so use that passion to chase.” – Mia Patria
“Always enter each game with a positive attitude. You all are capable of so much.” – Kaitlyn Bridger
“My advice for younger Wolves is to never stop during a race. It will hurt for sure but I guarantee you will get better the more you do it.” – Christian Collis
“My advice I would give to younger kids would be you have to put in the work on your own time to really see growth in you.” – Brendan Favazza

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