BUCKHANNON — It is important to highlight the youth in Upshur County and the hard work they have put in to excelling in the sports they play. This series of articles will go in-depth with one of B-U’s student athletes, allowing readers to get to know a little more about who athletically represents the community. This week, sophomore forward Ian Strader, took time to give the community an inside look at his journey in Upshur County sports.
Question 1: Describe your major highlights and achievements in sports in the past. What standouts out to you about your high school athletic career so far?
“This whole season was a highlight. If I had to pick just one thing that stands out the most from this year to me it was getting a double-double both times we played our biggest rival, Lewis County; That was special,” said Strader.
Question 2: What clubs, teams or other extracurricular activities are you involved in during high school?
“My freshman year, I played football, basketball and baseball. Heading into this year, I decided to focus on playing basketball and running track,” explained Strader.
Question 3: Why are you so passionate about playing sports?
“I have a deep love for the sports I play simply because I’m a very competitive athlete. I always want to be the best regardless of what I’m doing. I want to win every game I play no matter, if it’s a game of horse or a playoff game. My mom, dad and brother all have helped teach me that,” stated Strader.
Question 4: What is your favorite sport? What made it your favorite? What drew you to the sport?
“Basketball is my favorite by far; It has been my favorite for as long as I can remember. It is my favorite because of the competition, the culture and how fun it is to play. I don’t remember exactly what drew me to loving the game as much as I do, but I’m glad that I was drawn to it,” said Strader.
Question 5: How would your coaches and teammates describe you?
“I’d say they would describe me as a hard worker, as someone that is trustworthy, and someone who likes to have fun and mess around with the team,” explained Strader.
Question 6: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gained from a coach over your years playing any sport?
“The best piece of advice I have ever gotten from a coach was this year when Coach [Travis] Foster was talking to us during a practice. He said, ‘if you try your hardest on the court good things will come,’ so I’ve learned to leave my heart out on the court and that’s what brought me success,” stated Strader.
Question 7: How do you manage your athletic responsibilities and other outside recreational and non-recreational activities?
“I just make time for everything as best as possible. I try to get all my schoolwork done in class and then I go to practice. Sometimes after practice, I’ll still have homework to do after practice, if I do I make sure I get it done in the free time I do have. Outside all of that I like to spend time with friends or go get some shots up at a court,” said Strader.
Question 8: What’s the biggest lesson you have picked up from playing sports?
“The biggest lesson I have picked up from sports is to try as hard as I possibly can in everything I do,” explained Strader.
Question 9: How long have you been playing basketball? How would you describe yourself as a player?
“I’ve been playing since I was in preschool always going to my brother’s Stockert practices just to be around the game and play with older people to get better. I would describe myself as a gritty player willing to take the blow for my team whether it’s taking a charge or grabbing rebounds, so I consider myself someone that can do a little bit of everything,” stated Strader.
Question 10: What has representing Buckhannon-Upshur as a student-athlete meant to you? What’s your best memory?
“Representing Buckhannon-Upshur as a student-athlete means a lot to me. The culture and the people in this community are the best. I love having my mom take pictures of me and always being there by my side and my dad and grandparents showing up to every game I play, they are the best support system anyone could ever ask for. My favorite memory is when I went up for my first dunk attempt and hearing the crowd in the background,” said Strader.
Question 11: Playing major minutes on the varsity level as only a sophomore is a big deal, how did you manage the jump in the level of competition?
“I’ll admit, I was nervous when I first subbed into the Wheeling Park game. After that I finally settled down and was calm during the games to where I wasn’t scared to take a certain shot or guard a certain person,” explained Strader.
Question 12: What are some of the things that this group of seniors taught you?
“These seniors taught me a lot of things. I credit them for helping me improve my games in so many ways. I would say that the main thing they taught me was to always have your teammates back, I’m going to miss this group of seniors I see all of them as brothers to me,” stated Strader.
Question 13: How will you take what you learned this year into next season?
“Well first thing I’m going to look to score more and stop passing up shots I should shoot. Then I’ll need to keep playing my absolute hardest defense and do all the little things I can, like taking charges as many times as I can,” said Strader.
Question 14: How would you describe yourself as an athlete? Is there anything you want the Upshur County community to know about you or your family?
“I feel like I’ve became a much stronger faster and way more athletic over the years and I credit my support system. I have to thank my whole family for making me a better athlete and person, I feel like they should know that my family are all hard workers and I think they should know how my brother is my biggest role model out there. He always saw ways I can get better at a sport and even though he’s in boot camp for the Marine Corp right now he’s writing me letters telling me ways to get better at basketball,” explained Strader.
Question 15: Finally, are there any short-term goals you’d like to accomplish in the next few months to a couple of years? What about in the future 10 years or more down the road, where do you think you will end up? College plans?
“I’d love to go to states for track this spring and I really want to become a 1000-point scorer by the end of my senior year of basketball. As for my plans after high school, I would really like to play college basketball,” stated Strader.