Tigers’ Lewis proud of combine
Austin Lewis straps himself into the harness and his father, K.C., gripping the cords attached to the apparatus, holds on as Austin powers his way up the grass.
Dad lets go and the son, a sophomore tailback and linebacker at Grand Junction High School, races off.
It’s preparation for the combine of Austin Lewis, the 15-year-old Tigers tailback who is founder and president of Western Rockies Sports Combine, LLC.
The combine will be conducted at Stocker Stadium on March 3.
“There aren’t any combines anywhere close to here,” Lewis said.
What’s the difference between Lewis’ combine and more well-known combines?
Nothing, really. The drills, such as 40-yard dash, pro agility, ‘L’ drill, bench press, vertical leap, standing long jump, flexibility test and 40-yard dash in which an athlete pulls his or her weight, are timed and tested with ZYBEKSPORTS electronic timing, the same quality of equipment used by more popular combines.
Participants of the combine receive an official letter — or a portfolio of sorts — documenting the athlete’s efforts.
All results are private, unless notified otherwise, Lewis said.
Lewis has encouraged coaching staffs from various state universities and colleges to attend. He said two recruiting services also will be on site to speak to athletes.
Proceeds from the combine go to the Mesa County Junior Football Association.
Registration and check-in is at 8 a.m.
Cost is $30 in advance and $35 onsite the day of the combine.
“Which is cheap compared to the cost an athlete would pay if they had to travel to do the same thing,” Lewis said.
The combine is open to boys and girls of all ages.
Athletes can register at http://www.WRSCombine.com.
And when Lewis said all ages, he means it.
Abby and Ben Price, of Rifle, have registered, said Lewis’ father, K.C.
They are six years old.
“The hardest thing they’ll get is vertical jump,” K.C. said. “I don’t know if we can get it low enough to where they can hit the veins.”
But now athletes on the Western Slope do not have to travel to get noticed. Typically, some high school athletes around the Grand Valley who could not afford to travel to such “nearby” combines in Arizona and Texas had to be noticed by way of film, or YouTube videos.
And Lewis expects the combine to be around for the longterm.
“The combine’s obviously in its infancy,” Grand Junction coach Robbie Owens said. “With today’s technology, everybody’s looking at numbers.”
Numbers such as an athlete’s 40-yard dash time or number of times they can bench press 185 or 225 pounds.
“You know where you want to get to,” said Grand Junction High sophomore inside linebacker Trevor Abbott about the experience gained from attending a combine. “and the goals you want to set for yourself.”
Lewis is hoping that as the combine grows, athletes will also begin pouring in from Utah.
For now, he said 25 have registered and many more are expected.
Not bad for a teenager.