WILMINGTON — As many college students from the area enjoy the final weeks of summer with a little rest and relaxation by spending time at the beach, on the water or making a little scratch for expenses throughout the academic year, dozens of athletes with local ties are hard at work as they look to keep themselves in shape during the offseason.
Using several venues across Wilmington, including Port City Sports Performance (PCSP) on Kitty Hawk Road, athletes are spending a part of each day trying to work on certain individual attributes, whether it be speed, strength or overall fitness to remain at a high level.
College athletes like Laney High School alum Kelli Gottry have been working up a sweat at PCSP ahead of her senior year at Queens University in Charlotte. Gottry is coming off an injury that kept her off the field for most of the last two seasons and the Wilmington native is eager to get back on the pitch for the Royals this fall.
“Since my injury in 2014 I am finally back to a full 100-percent after the spring 2016 season,” Gottry said. “It’s been a year-and-a-half to two year process to get back into the shape I was in before the ACL tear. The mental toughness one needs to be able to go through the surgery and rehab process of tearing your ACL is out of this world. No one truly understands what it is like to go through the process unless they have done it themselves. In college your team is your biggest support system. When I tore my ACL the first thing I did within my self was accept it. There is nothing I can do about it.”
During her time at Queens, Gottry has appeared in 29 games, tallied 11 goals and two assists. She was named Intercon-Student Athlete of the Month for September 2014 and named All-Conference Second Team as a freshman.
One of the goals at PCSP is to help athletes like Gottry come back from injury, while improving the necessary skillsets to help them achieve goals set before summer workouts get underway. While she’s staying in Charlotte primarily this summer working at Soccer Shots, which helps teach children the beautiful game, during her limited time in the Port City when visiting family, Gottry uses PCSP to help maintain a competitive edge.
“PCSP truly knows what needs to be done to train like an athlete preparing for college or already in college,” Gottry said. “They helped me gain back a lot of movement after surgery and taught me the correct way that I was suppose to be doing things so that I could strengthen my knee and the muscles around it. PCSP helps you work on all aspects that pertain to your sport by creating sport specific workout plans for athletes and their respected sports. If it wasn’t for PCSP I don’t know if I would have returned ready to play after coming off my ACL tear.”
The advice I would give to a high school athlete looking to compete in college would be to be open minded to trying and learning new things. You are going to have to do a lot of things that you don’t want to do.
Laney High School alum Kelli Gottry
Probably the biggest difference between high school and college athletics is competition between teammates. Playing time is not a given when the all-stars from various high schools converge at the next level. Each individual is talented, skilled and looking to make the most of their time on the field or court. With that comes an enormous responsibility of that individual to do what it takes, when no one’s watching, to go the extra mile. While one athlete from one area may be grinding during their off time, it’s their teammates’ obligation in college to get after it in the weight room, on the field or track, day in and day out to put themselves in the best position to succeed when it’s time to head back to school.
“College athletics has been a very eye opening experience,” Gottry added. “You learn how mentally tough you truly are and what you are able to push your body through. You go through three-a-days for two weeks of preseason and 6 a.m. practices every day. The advice I would give to a high school athlete looking to compete in college would be to be open minded to trying and learning new things. You are going to have to do a lot of things that you don’t want to do. In high school you get into a routine of how the practices go, but in college you never know what you are going to show up and have to do.”
Gottry, along with nearly a dozen others are using PCSP this summer to get the most out of their off time. Similar workout facilities continue to sprout up across town due to the need for athletes, like Gottry, to help keep a high level of fitness in the competitive world of college athletics.