Condit gives his all in racing and football

Anthony Condit takes his passion to both the race track and the football people, accelerating everything he has into both sports. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

When Austin’s senior linebacker Anthony Condit hangs up his pads at the end of this season, there’s one thing he can definitely say about his high school football career — he left it all on the field.

For the last two years, Condit has doubled as the Packers’ top tackler on defense, while also playing running back, punter and lining up on special teams.

“There isn’t one thing he doesn’t do,” Austin head coach Matt Schmit said. “We’ve thought very highly of him for a long time. He has the mental toughness to do things others can’t. He gets tired, but he never comes out and we’re going to miss him (next year).”

 A Force for the Pack

Austin's Anthony Condit busts off a run in the first quarter Friday night against Rochester Century at Art Hass Stadium. -- Herald File Photo

Condit, who is a three-year starter at linebacker and a two-year starter in the backfield, leads Austin with 5.5 sacks this season and he’s also racked up 257 total yards of offense with one touchdown.

He plays a very physical style of football on defense and is quick to come off the edge on passing downs.

“It’s always fun when you look across the field to the other guys because you know no matter what happens either they’re going to hit you or you’re going to hit them,” Condit said. “I prefer to choose hitting them before they hit me.”

Schmit still remembers the first big play Condit ever made when he was a freshman playing on the JV team. He picked off a pass and almost took it back for a score. Schmit also recalls the time that Condit was tired, but wouldn’t come out of a game last year against Mankato East because he knew the Packers didn’t have any healthy bodies on the sidelines.

The stress of playing on every down sometimes takes it’s toll on Condit as the Packers have lost 18 straight games. But he’s always thinking about how things can get better.

“It gets hard after a while when you don’t get a break and it gets frustrating after looking up at the scoreboard and not seeing our number is higher than their number,” Condit said. “But you’ve just got to keep coming back every day and keep working harder and know that things will get better.”

Anthony Condit takes to the track at Chateau Raceway this past racing season, jumping up to Midwest Modifieds after just one year at Street Stocks. -- Herald File Photo

Speed Racer

If Condit wasn’t busy enough playing football — and baseball in the spring — he also was busy on the oval. After watching his dad race at Chateau Raceway in Lansing and getting some time driving Street Stocks himself the previous summer, Condit decided to go up a class to Midwest Modifieds. He liked what he found.

In his first full season, Condit finished 7th out of 39 drivers at Chateau and 25th out of 36 drivers in the Midwest Mods division at Deer Creek.

“I always loved watching my dad race, so I thought I’d try it out,” he said. “We ended up having a lot of fun and I thank my dad for getting the opportunity of driving a race car.”

Things didn’t start so smoothly on the dirt track for Condit as he was a little shaken by going against so many older drivers.

“The first time I did it, I was out there and I looked like a turtle because I didn’t know what was going on,” he said. “Then when you get in your first wreck and you know it’s your fault, it’s very frustrating. My dad told me he’s done it many times and there’s always next week.”

Racing has made Condit’s planning a little more difficult. There are times when he must choose between sports and the track. Football always wins out, but it’s not an easy choice.

“It gets really hectic, because the big races are at the end of the year, but I can’t miss out on the football stuff,” Condit said.

“It gets hard having to choose where to go and what to do.”

 Leaving a Lasting Impression

Condit hopes to keep racing and he also hopes to play football at the next level. He’s been in contact with a few Division III colleges, but for now he’s hoping to leave the younger Packers with some good football habits.

Austin’s two other starting linebackers, Pat Wagner, a junior, and Gabe Gerstner, a sophomore, have looked to Condit for leadership this season.

“It’s fun working with them because I know they’re going to be great athletes,” Condit said. “You just try to teach them to keep working and never give up because it’s been a tough year. You have to keep the wheels going because it’s gonna come.”

The Packers (0-8 overall) are hoping to pick up a much needed win when they head to No. 2 seeded Red Wing (5-3 overall) for a Section 1AAAA tournament game Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Packers led the Wingers in the fourth quarter of the opener but couldn’t hold on in a 19-9 loss.

Condit, who played in a playoff win over Winona his sophomore season, hopes the result is different against Red Wing this time around.

“It would be awesome to get a win before I left the locker room and left these guys,” he said. “We’ve all worked so hard all year and it’s getting to the point where it’s gonna come. We’ll go out and try to knock them in the mouth and try and get a win.”

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