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Plant City Observer Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 5 months ago

Athlete of the Week: Austin Eldridge

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The Plant City multi-sport athlete is preparing for baseball season.
by: Justin Kline Sports/Associate Editor

Plant City High School’s Austin Eldridge is getting ready for the final sports season of his high school career and, after baseball, for the start of his next chapter at the University of Central Arkansas. Eldridge played at tight end and defensive end for the Raiders’ football team and is an outfielder and designated hitter for the baseball team.

Know someone who deserves an Athlete of the Week feature? Email Justin Kline at [email protected] by the Friday before the next issue.

 

How do you feel about the upcoming baseball season?

Pretty great. We’ve really come together as a team. Right now, we’re focused on becoming closer as brothers and just working on winning that district championship and going to win a state championship.

 

What are your personal goals for the season?

I want to be the best leader I can possibly be and I’d like to keep working on making this team better.

 

You did some coaching with the Plant City Dolphins later last year. Is that something you want to keep doing when you can?

Once I head to college I won’t be. I’ll be out there a little bit this spring when they start 8-on-8, I’ll be helping out a little bit. I just try to give back to the community as much as possible. It was real cool to go back there and help out where my career started.

 

What’s your proudest moment as a Raider?

Last year, when the baseball team started 2-9 and we fought back and got back to .500. We had a lot of guys step up and it showed that whenever we’re down, we can always come back and be a great team.

 

What made you choose UCA over any other school you were looking at?

When I got there, they accepted me. They were telling me how I can be a great fit here. All those other schools are gonna tell you the same stuff, but what I liked about it the most is it’s really a family there. Once you get there, no matter if you’re a freshman or what, you have the chance to start as soon as you get there. I’m really excited and I’m ready to get up there.

 

You played against Brandon and Cam Myers from Durant and now you’re going to play with them up there. Do you all keep in touch?

Yeah, I’ve actually been in contact with them a lot. We hang out here and there and me and Brandon and Cameron go to the same church … it’s gonna be a lot of fun up there. We’re gonna try to be leaders and we’re trying to take this team to the national championship.

 

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned playing sports?

From when I was a freshman at Crest to coming to Plant City, it’s all about persevering. If you come here and you’re happy with your coach and then he goes, you’ve been through five different coaches, you just keep going on and going toward that dream and that goal you’ve dreamed about since you were a little kid. You just keep being a leader.

 

Are you going to play more than just football at UCA?

I’ve talked to the coaches. Maybe sophomore year, I might be able to walk on to the baseball team. But when you’re playing D-1 football, especially with the talent at as high a level as they are … it’s really the football grind every day.

Justin Kline is the Sports/Associate Editor at the Plant City Times & Observer. He has been covering all things sports-related in the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World since 2013, and hosts the weekly Gridiron Report podcast during high school football season.

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