Austin grad leaves his mark on his school

Published 3:48 pm Friday, August 8, 2008

A recently graduated Austin High School athlete will be leaving his mark at his school due to his athleticism and his smarts.

Will Hagan, who graduated this past spring, was selected to the All-State Academic Track and Field Team recently and he will have his picture posted in Austin High for years to come.

“It’s such an honor,” said Hagan, who was on the 4 x 4 relay team that took 10th in state and won the Section 1AA title. “Because my dad played football and wrestled at Austin he always talked about all the great guys in those pictures (in the school) and he could tell a story about all of them. For my picture to be up there is incredible, it’s such a good feeling.”

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Hagan, who also played football and basketball since his freshman year for the Packers, said sports were a big part of him maintaining a solid GPA in high school. While sometimes it created a lot of extra work, it also taught him to organize.

“You have to think ahead and plan about when you’re going to study and when you’re gonna practice,” Hagan said. “At our track meet in Faribault we got back at 1 a.m. The next day we had an anatomy quiz and I was cramming right before the test. That was probably the toughest I had it this year.”

Now Hagan will take his organizational skills to Luther College, a Division III school with an enrollment of approximately 2,500 in Decorah, Iowa.

He will also play football for the Norse, who were 5-5 last season. Hagan said one of their players had a tryout for the New York Jets.

“Coach told me already I’d be the smallest guy there, so we’ll see how it goes,” Hagan said. “I’m excited (about playing college football), but at the same time I’m really nervous. It’s a whole different ball game out there.”

While he enjoyed playing sports, Hagan said the biggest thing he learned was how to socialize with his peers. He said any students entering Austin High School should play sports for the same reason, even if they won’t compete to start.

“It’s a waste (not to be in sports),” he said. “I look back at my time in Austin High School and a lot of it has to do with sports. Just get involved is what I have to say. It’s such a shame if you get to high school and don’t want to be active.”

While starring in football and track at Austin, Hagan also knows what it’s like to watch the game from the bench. He didn’t play a lot for the basketball team, but he said he had no problem with that.

“I was real thankful, because I was good friends with everybody on the team,” he said. “A lot of people asked me ‘how could I do it?’ It was hard work and dedication to your team and never wanting to quit.”