By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.— South Salem-Senior Drew Gertenrich will have his hands full starting next year when he heads to Arizona Christian University in the Fall. But hey, he’s ready for the challenge of being a multi-sport athlete at college when he joins the Firestorm of the NAIA.
“I think at some points with doing track and football there will be challenges along the road but ultimately I just want to go out there, whether it’s football or track season, and just compete, have fun, and better myself as an athlete and a young adult,” Gertenrich said. “It was an opportunity that came about as I learned more about the school and I couldn’t pass it up.
“I met the track coach when I went down there for a visit and he was someone that I really wanted to be my coach, he has had tons of experience in the track world. For right now I think I will just be doing javelin, but who knows what will happen down the line.”
The Saxon thrower has been around the sport he is involved in his life. His dad, Clint, was an All-American javelin thrower at Azusa Pacific University during his time with the Cougars from 1988-1992 and the younger Gertenrich has been around seeing his dad coaching at Willamette University, Corban University, North and South Salem High Schools.
“I have always been around the sport growing up,” Gertenrich said.
For Gertenrich, who’s entering his second year back playing football at South Salem, sees similarities in through the javelin and being a quarterback as he’s been taking advantage of this downtime. Showcasing his big arm potential during the Oregon 7’s 7-on-7 season with the Saxons and the Valley Capital teams.
“Well they are similar and different. With javelin, throwing involves most of the body and with football, there are less parts in the throwing mechanism,” Gertenrich said of the two throwing motions. “I’ve just focused on football lately; it’s been really nice to have a sense of relief now that we’re going to have a season. It has been a dream of mine to play college football ever since I was little watching the Ducks play every Saturday.
“They were super helpful, especially just getting some passing film was really helpful… It’s been so much fun to just go out and compete and throw. I worked super hard over this past fall and summer just chasing the opportunity of playing at the next level.”
And as he embarks on a challenging gauntlet of sorts on his throwing up, football into Mid-April and Track and Field into May, challenges are there keeping at it. But it’ll be all in his approach moving ahead of his Senior Year and beyond with his hard work.
There is one moment that does stick out however, and it doesn’t involve his two collegiate sports. It involves more with his basketball game than anything else.
“My favorite memory from playing sports was probably my freshman year during basketball season. We were terrible, we didn’t win a game all season and it was the last game of the season and we played McNary,” Gertenrich starts. “We finally won a game and we were celebrating like we had just won the NBA championship. So I think that’s my favorite memory of sports, sharing in camaraderie with my teammates.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald)