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Athlete of the Week

Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2024 at 7:17 pm

By Brandie Gay

Reece Culwell, a student-athlete at Van-Far High School, has made significant contributions to both the football and baseball programs. Reece is a key player for the Van-Far baseball team. Reece also is active in FFA, NHS, A+, and also plays travel baseball.

In the previous season for the Van-Far Indians, he held the role of No. 1 pitcher, demonstrating his prowess on the mound. His earned run average was approximately 3.32 over approximately 50 innings pitched. With his experience and skills, Reece is expected to continue contributing to the team’s success this year. The previous season had been tough, with the team struggling to find its footing. But this year, things are different. The arrival of Coach Cameron Huff has injected new life into the program, and Reece, as the only returning all-conference player, along with other returning players, will play a crucial role in achieving the team’s goals.

Reece Culwell, a talented athlete, achieved a remarkable milestone during the first game of the season against Calvary Lutheran. He secured his 100th strikeout, leaving an indelible mark on the baseball field. His dedication and skill have undoubtedly contributed to the pride of the Van-Far community. Reece commented that he had no idea he was close to striking out 100 batters until he looked at his stats for his whole high school career.

His goal for this season is to continue to have more strike out than last year and to win 6+ games this season. Reece added, coming from a 1 win season to a 6+ win season would be amazing for the team and he truly believes they have the team to do it this year. With this goal, his team goal is to win the EMO District Championship. Van-Far has not won a district championship since 2018.

Reece explains, baseball is a team sport and everyone has to work together as a team to get the job done. When he is pitching he knows he can’t strike every batter out but he has confidence in his defense. He knows his defense will make the plays behind him. He believes this will be the team’s best shot because they have worked hard and have come a long ways since the first practice. Before every game, Reece says he gets his head right before he steps off the bus, adding, that is where it all starts because baseball is a huge mental game.

Culwell explained that he then he gets the team rolling and we get a quick jog in before stretching. If he is pitching that da he stretches a little more before he plays pitch and catch and bullpen. If he is not pitching he stated he outfield and infield drills and then before you know it, its game time.

Reflecting on his past seasons, his favorite highlight is when he hit his homerun against Sturgeon last year. Lately, he added, he has been struggling at the plate so he is going to buckle down and work harder to try to have better at bats.

Reece said to be a great student athlete you have to have a great mental game. Explaining, you always have to know what the next play could potentially be. If you make an error, don’t live in the past and dwell on it. You have to work hard to be a great athlete. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

Reece Culwell is the son of the late Shan and Felicity Goodpasture-Culwell. Reece said his love of baseball started when he was young, playing it with his parents and brother, Treyson.

Reece’s older brother Treyson Culwell was one of Van-Far Indians outstanding baseball players recognized as Second Team All-Conference and First Team All-Region in his high school years. He had made quite an impact at Van-Far but definitely on his younger brother. Reece stated that whatever Treyson did, he tries to beat it. In his short career at Van-Far, Reece has won the Newcomer Award his freshman year, and his sophomore year he won MVP and Most RBI’s while also making the Second team All-Conference.