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Gerding has mastered the art of balancing sports, school and work

By Alissa Noe

In his three years at Clear Creek High School, junior Lucas Gerding has learned what it means to be an ideal student-athlete, excelling in both academics and on the field, court and track.

His love for competition has catapulted him to take on multiple leadership roles in the three high school sports he takes part in, from serving as a point guard in basketball to being a vocal and physical leader in football and in track.

It all started in grade school on a recreational basketball team.

“We went undefeated our first season, so after that, I was just competitive about everything I did pretty much,” Gerding said. “It’s fourth grade, but still, if you go undefeated, that’s pretty cool. That really is just what sparked my competitiveness.”

Since then, Gerding has taken on the challenge of balancing the three sports — all of which take place in separate seasons — maintaining a high GPA and working a part-time job.

Since his freshman year, Gerding has played hoops for the Golddiggers, and says that’s where his love for sports best thrives. As point guard, he’s not just a vocal leader. He runs the offense.

That responsibility has carried over into football, where he serves as a wide receiver. When combined with senior Noah Sarria this season — which ended on Saturday in the school’s first playoff appearance in 18 years — the two were a lethal pair on the receiving end.

Even in track, Gerding and Sarria worked together as half of the 4 x 100-meter relay team in conjunction with a pair of Bens.

“I took freshman year off of football to just focus on basketball,” Gerding said. “That’s something I’m really looking forward to, and as far as track goes, that’s more the fun thing to stay in shape, but it’s also still a way to compete because our 4 x 100 with Noah, Ben Sanchez and Ben Griffin and I went to state last year.”

After skipping out on football his first year, much to head coach Brian Inman’s chagrin, Gerding came around his sophomore year and joined the team. Since then, he’s made a huge impact not only on his own athletic abilities, but the overall success of Golddigger football, both on and off the field.

“He’s like a kid in a candy store,” Inman said. “He’s hard-working in practice; he gives you 110 percent every game. He wants to win, and if there’s any way possible that he can make it happen, he makes it happen.”

And, even though Gerding excels on offense in football, he’s always making sure his team is focused and motivated in every way he can.

“Every team needs a leader, and I’ve always wanted to be a leader because I wanted to be someone that people followed and that people looked up to,” he said. “As far as all sports, I’m always screaming on defense, because we definitely needed the most help on defense for football, so I’m always screaming on defense to try to get everyone pumped up. I just feel like me being a leader, that’s another way that I can help the team win because I feel like if everyone’s pumped up and everyone’s playing hard, then we’re going to play better.”

Inman said that sometimes, Gerding’s leadership and mannerisms mirror that of legendary New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, especially when trying to get his team pumped up.

“The kids respond to (his leadership). They know that he’s passionate about the game, and he’s passionate about winning, and how can you not respond to that?” Inman said. He just gets that intense, and I get excited when he gets excited. When a kid can make your coach excited about coaching and stuff, it’s pretty cool.”

On top of sports and school, Gerding holds a job at Walmart, where he spends 12 hours a week. This semester, he’s just one percentage point shy of straight As in his classes, outside of his science class. While his social life has taken a hit with all the extracurricular activities and academic excellence, Gerding said the key is time management.

He doesn’t mind the hard work because he knows that ethic will help him later in life, when he must find a way to balance family life and work life.

Though still a junior, Gerding said he’s already getting calls from Grinnell College, a private liberal arts school in Grinnell, Iowa. Senior quarterback Ty Judge, who’s also being courted by the football program there, told the coach he wouldn’t go anywhere without Gerding.

No matter where his education may take him over the next five years, Gerding said he’s not ready to give up the heat of competition he loves so much.

“I don’t want to stop competing once high school is over because I know that fire is still going to be burning in me,” he said. “I definitely want to compete another four years.”