Overcoming an Iron Deficiency

Three-sport athletes may be a dying breed at ACHS, but for these “Iron Sequoits” their passion, dedication and commitment helped them stay on course to ultimate success.

Branden Gallimore

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Iron deficiency: a condition, according to the Mayo Clinic, in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells; however, unlike the medical definition, Antioch Community High School is facing its own type of iron deficiency. Rather than what is considered a life-threatening disease, this deficiency at ACHS, which slowly crept into the history books over time, relates to its athletes—the Sequoit Iron Athletes.

Being an iron athlete is not an easy task to accomplish, which could be why the number of iron athletes decreased over the last twenty years. Being an iron athlete means being in a sport for each of the three athletic seasons throughout all four years of high school. On paper, this feat may not seem like such a difficult task at all, but what most people don’t know is all of the sacrifices these athletes have made in order to achieve this title of being an iron athlete.

Being an iron athlete means being dedicated. It means being passionate about sports and willing to commit to the giant and overwhelming task ahead, and making that choice as an inexperienced freshman and continuing to do so for four years with no breaks; these athletes have received a few days here or there, but no offseason whatsoever. Summer break to these athletes is not a break at all. Spring and winter breaks are consumed with practices, games, events or competitions, or, in many cases, transitioning to the next season while still in the current one.

All of these traits embody this year’s Sequoit Iron Athletes: Jillian Everett, Andrew Hare, Miranda Karellas, John Petty and Alexander Scheider.

“I had to give up hanging with my friends some weekends because I had cheer competitions,” Karellas said. “Or I couldn’t sleepover with all my friends because I had to make sure I woke up early and had enough sleep [for all of my sports].”

The ability to manage time and set priorities is a necessity to be an iron athlete. Without either of these, it would be impossible to juggle the hundreds of different obstacles life throws everyone’s way.

“It’s been tight at times because you would jump from sport season to another sport season,” Scheider said. “It could be exhausting for four years.”

The greatest part about doing a lot of work with little free time is the pay off. For some people, not being dedicated enough to sacrifice their time with friends or other outside distractions, making the dream of becoming an iron athlete an impossible for them to reach. But for these athletes, the experience of being an iron athlete is what is so beneficial.

“It was completely worth it,” Petty said. “Although getting to things and making the schedule work was tough, my experience was completely positive.”

In today’s society, it seems to be a norm that athletes focus on one sport, and only one sport, rather than expanding their horizon and participating in something new. These new, time-consuming experiences may not be the easiest to achieve for some, but later in life, reflecting on all the good that has come out of that commitment is definitely something to be proud of.

“Playing three sports all four years of high school has been quite the rollercoaster ride,” Everett said. “But the highest points far outweighed the lows.”

There’s no doubt that life throws curveballs and certain activities take priority over others. It’s impossible for someone to achieve all of their dreams and goals in one day, maybe even in a lifetime, but there are some people that push themselves to the max with what they can do.

“I gave up a lot of free time and sleep in order to play sports,” Hare said. “Balancing my academics and athletics was a struggle.”

The cliché beauty in the struggle and ugliness of success is one that perfectly describes the high school career of these Sequoit Iron Athletes. These five athletes represent a strong work ethic, great determination and the willingness to sacrifice their time for something greater than themselves. No matter where life takes these student-athletes, they will always leave their mark made of iron.