The Ultimate athlete is a student who trains hard and is committed to excellence, on and off the field. Their work ethic, dedication, determination, and mental toughness is what makes these athletes truly exceptional. Each week the Country Herald will spotlight these incredible student-athletes in our series, The Ultimate.
This week’s Ultimate is Jaeden Harris, who will start his freshman year at Kankakee High School in the fall of 2019. When described by his pony league and Sunday travel league coach, Carlos Lonberger said, “I knew early on in our pre-season workouts that Jaeden was a gifted athlete and special ballplayer. He is a quiet guy who leads by example in practice and then he becomes a field general in games. I love watching how smooth he moves on defense, how strong he is in the batter’s box, and how fast he is on the bases. I took him with the first pick of the draft for a reason and I’m not regretting it.”
When did you first get involved in sports?
I first got involved with sports at age five with the YMCA.
Who are your heroes in life and what do you admire about them?
My parents are my heroes. They are my heroes because they work hard and always put my brothers and I first.
What are your future aspirations after high school?
After high school the plan is college.
Do you have a plan in place to fulfill your dreams?
Hopefully, I can go on a sports and/or academic scholarship. I’m trying to maintain my straight A’s and work just as hard in the classroom as I do on the field.
Have you ever had any nail-biting incidents that have had a happy ending?
After hitting a home run, I came in the game to pitch and struck the last batter out. The game went into extra innings and we ended up winning the game.
What is a typical day like for you?
School, home and homework, then practice/ or game, practice in the back yard with my dad.
Why do you love the game of baseball?
I love the game because of the happiness it brings me. I guess you could say the baseball field is my “happy place”.
What would you say the role of a sports parent is?
Support from your parents. Whether it’s getting me to and from practice or games, making sure I have everything I need to succeed, attending games and cheering from the stands and always encouraging me.
What would you say the role of the athlete’s coach is?
The coach should TEACH and better the player in his/her position.
What’s your training like?
Training is running through fielding, batting, situational scenarios. Lots of repetition. Not only doing these things at practice but individually at home.
Are you the first one to practice and the last one to leave?
I may not be the first one to practice or the last to leave, but I ALWAYS give one hundred percent.
What keeps you motivated to play baseball?
The love for the sport keeps me motivated and playing. Also, the places that I can go playing baseball in the future.
What are some words of encouragement you would give a younger athlete?
Work hard and don’t get distracted from negativity. Always be a coachable player.
Is there a local athlete that you believe is The Ultimate? Tell us who you would like spotlighted by completing the form here, at gocorn.org/athlete.