photo by Jade Broderick.
photo by Jade Broderick.

Taking the EDGE off the competition

Student athletes gathered from schools around Kentucky to compete in the EDGE best athlete in Kentucky competition at King Louie’s sports complex on Saturday, Dec. 17. The first official high school sports combine in Louisville tested athletic skill level and abilities.

“It’s the first time an all sports combine like this has been attempted in Louisville for high school athletes,” EDGE founder Tony Duckwall said.

Jaylen Smith (10, Louisville Male High School), like a lot of other athletes that competed, trains with EDGE. “I’ve been training with EDGE since last year for softball, and I’ve definitely gotten stronger and faster with EDGE,” said Smith, “I plan to keep coming to EDGE until I graduate and play softball in college.”

Alan Pascua (11, HSU) plays wide receiver on the Manual football team. “I’ve been training with EDGE since the end of last football season,” Pascua said, “it has really increased my athleticism, the way I move, my speed most definitely and just the way I look at movement.”

Pascua was not focused on winning the competition as much as he was trying to achieve personal goals. “I came here because I really wanted to see where I’m at with my speed, my vertical and my 40 time; plus I love a little competition,” he said.

Jerome Pascua, father of competitor Alan Pascua believes that the program is beneficial to student athletes.

“What I want him to get out of this is that there are bigger goals than just trying to get a scholarship right now, it’s more about the physical aspect of things,” Pascua said, “We’ve got baselines set from last year in terms of 40 times, verticals and all that.
EDGE has been a good fit for him because his trainers are very encouraging, and they realize what’s important to him,” he added.

The combine kicked off with a 20-yard dash for the female group and a 40-yard dash for the male group. Electronic pads were set up so that the moment the athlete’s foot stepped off, the timer would start. A laser was at the end of the line that would stop the timer when crossed. Jaylen Smith won the 20-yard dash. Alan Pascua won the 40-yard dash with a time of 4.81 seconds.

The second event was the pro agility contest that involved sprinting from a cone to another cone and back to a pad to finish in a matter of seconds. Madison Lecoy finished with a time of 4.85 seconds, and Darius Jones won the event.

Darius Jones is a freshman at Butler Traditional high school, and he plays cornerback on their football team.

“I feel pretty good because this is the first time I came to a combine, and I think I showed up,” said Jones, “I think this gave me more confidence to come out here and do good on the field.”

The third event was the vertical jump. Jaylen Smith won the contest for the female group with a jump of 22.9 inches. Alan Pascua jumped 29.6 inches to grab the medal for the vertical.

The fourth event was a medicine ball throw with the results being based on the greatest distance.

Jacob Doss (11, Butler Traditional High School) plays linebacker and defensive tackle for his school football team. He won the medicine ball throw with a distance of 28 feet.

“It feels great to win, it’s something I came out here to do to compete,” said Doss, “I’ve been preparing since freshman year for every combine I can.” He hopes to play college football at a division one school, preferably WKU.

Male Junior Lainey Schmitt won the tie breaker for the power shot event throwing 23 feet. “It felt really good, and I feel like EDGE has prepared me for this competition by making me faster, stronger and a better person,” Schmitt said. This is Lainey’s second year with edge and she hopes it will take her to play college softball.

The fifth event was a 300 meter straddle that resulted in a win for Grace Bringer and Alan Pascua. Grace Bringer won with a time of 101 seconds, and Alan won with a time of 55 seconds.

Tony Duckwall, co-owner and founder of EDGE, was pleased with the results of the combine.

“I couldn’t be happier, knowing that all the kids we trained won,” Duckwall said. “A lot of these kids are going to go on to college showcases and combines, and having experience like this will get rid of the butterflies because they know what to expect. It helps to prepare them to be better athletes when getting noticed by colleges,” he said.

Jaylen Smith won the speed and vertical contests. “It felt good,” said Smith, “I was told I was pretty athletic and would have a good chance at this event.” Jaylen Smith takes home the trophy for the female competition, winning 2 out of 5 events.

Alan Pascua dominated the competition, winning 3 out of 5 events and leading him to win the overall award.

“I’m really proud and grateful being able to get these awards,” Pascua said, “personally I feel like I’ve improved so much that this victory is a testimony to how much I’ve grown and bettered myself over the past two years. This is definitely going to correllate to productivity on the field,” Pascua said, “I love competition, and to see where other people are at compared to me is really good to help pace myself along with other people.”

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