2015 grad excelled on football field, in classroom
2015 Amherst Steele High School graduate Nathan Nunez’s build – 6-foot, 220 pounds – and Mohawk hairstyle fit the prototype for the tough, physical outside linebacker position he played on the high school football field.
“Teddy Bear Mohawk,” which he was affectionately nicknamed by the participants at the Amherst Youth Football Camp last summer, didn’t exactly fit his on-field persona.
That’s perfectly OK with the two-time first-team All-Lorain County selection.
“It was rewarding to teach the next generation of football players, not just football technique, but also character qualities,” Nunez said of the camp. “I will cherish those moments as much as they will. I was able to see the impact I had on the younger kids who look up to me.”
Serving as a role model for the community’s young residents is a responsibility the three-year letterwinner cherished and took seriously, citing it as the best part of being a varsity student-athlete.
“As a kid, I always looked up to the football players, dreaming to be in their shoes one day,” Nunez said. “Now that I have lived that dream, I can look at the youth football players and give them something to work for.”
Nunez graduated from Steele this past spring with a 3.85 cumulative GPA, having earned the highest honor roll each year.
The Academic All-Ohio selection is headed to Dartmouth College to study mechanical engineering and to play football in the Ivy League.
Much of whatever happens after that is still to be determined, but Nunez is adamant he’ll find a way to continue the humanitarian work he began on a week-long mission trip to Costa Rica this past January with other members from Trinity Evangelical Free Church.
“No matter the level of success I find in the future, I plan to travel back to Costa Rica to see the seeds I planted on my mission trip and to help them in whatever way I can,” Nunez said.
The high school grad recently reflected on his time at Steele – in and out of the classroom – for USATODAYhss.com/Cleveland. Check out the Q&A below to learn more.
Q: What do you remember most about your first varsity game?
A: The hype everyone showed as we were finally able to step out on the field after a long offseason. Every day we trained for our first game, anticipation was added. It was a relief to finally be able to lay it all on the line and showcase what we had worked so hard for.
Q: What moment from your final varsity game do you think you’ll remember for the rest of your life?
A: Saying goodbye to all of my teammates in the locker room. We grew up loving the game of football together and it had all just ended. I would not take back one second spent in the weight room or running sprints, because in the end, it was all worth it.
Q: What is one piece of advice you received from one of your high school coaches that you’ll likely remember for the rest of your life?
A: A piece of advice that I will remember for the rest of my life came from my senior year. Head coach Bill Fishleigh said “those who stay will be champions.” Although it did not happen, literally, for us, I think there is more behind that quote. What someone is made of is defined by how he reacts. How he takes a win can prepare him for the next week, but how he takes a loss can prepare him for life.
Q: What did it mean to you to be a Steele Comet?
A: Being a Steele Comet meant walking out on that field and honoring the great players and coaches that came before me, hoping years later, someone would be remembering me.
Q: What is your fondest memory from your time with your teammates off of the field?
A: My fondest memory with my teammates off of the field was at the Hiram football camp that we went to as a team before the season. I was really able to bond with my teammates and make memories that I will remember for a lifetime.
Q: Which high school teacher made the greatest impact on your life?
A: Mrs. Williams, who taught my freshman computer processing class, made the greatest impact on my life. I rarely talked in her class, but years later when she retired, I realized she was listening whenever I did. As she was cleaning out her classroom, she stumbled upon a football book that made her think of me. She had it delivered to me in school one day, and I realized that the impression you can make on somebody can be felt even when you think no one is listening.
Q: What was the greatest non-athletic accomplishment of your high school career?
A: The greatest non-athletic accomplishment of my high school career was keeping the same great relationships with my friends, family, and girlfriend, who have supported me since the beginning of high school.
For more Northeast Ohio high school sports news, scores, photos and videos, visit USATodayhss.com/Cleveland.