Kenowa Hills — Adam Kregel remembers going to gym class in the cafeteria when he was a student at Zinser Elementary. The Kenowa Hills High School alum now occupies an office down the hall from Zinser’s gym as the district’s first K-8 youth sports coordinator.
The position was created to develop and grow its youth sports programs in schools and the community. Kregel hopes to provide students the chance to try new sports and pursue ones they already love.
“By continuing to offer youth sports opportunities and introducing students and families to new ones, they will have had some experience when they get into high school sports,” he said. “One of my goals is to prepare athletes well to succeed at the high school level and eventually see an increase in numbers.”
Superintendent Jerry Hopkins said the school board agreed on the importance of bringing in someone to manage K-8 sports programs and act as liaison to high school coaching staff.
Hopkins also credits the high school coaching staff for increasing the number of youth programs offered, resulting in higher student participation.
“We knew the youth coordinator position was needed to support additional growth and allow our high school coaches to focus more on their student athletes and supporting the youth coaches, rather than manage the youth programs,” Hopkins said.
With the district’s support, Kregel said he feels confident in his abilities to offer something for everybody.
“It’s nice not having to convince anyone that this role is important,” he said. “The district saw the importance of having this position and knew it was worth it.”
As a former student athlete, Kregel is passionate about the health and education benefits of staying active at a young age.
“Keeping kids involved in sports or other activities, especially at an elementary age is good for their bodies and minds,” he said. “Athletics is also one of the best ways for kids to get to know kids from other schools. It helps unify our community, promote school spirit and allows families to get to know one another.”
Additionally, he continuously searches for new, cost-conscious program opportunities for Kenowa Hills and in the surrounding community to share with families.
“We want to help kids find ways to try new things and don’t want cost to be a barrier,” he said. “We try to keep our program rates as low as possible and make sure the money coming in stays within our athletic program.”
A Knight Returns
Kregel played varsity baseball and basketball as a Kenowa Hills Knight. After graduating in 2016, he played four years of basketball at Grace Christian University while earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in sports management.
“(Adam) is a positive role model to the youth in our community and was a natural fit for this new position, matching his passion, skill set and interest in giving back to our community,” Hopkins said.
As coordinator, Kregel also manages the K-8 youth sports presence on social media, highlighting information for families and moments from sporting events and practices.
When he’s not in his office, he monitors sports practices at school facilities and works with student athletes through Level Up Basketball Training.
Kregel said he strives to build a “world-class sports program open to all students.”
“I ultimately hope to see a continual growth in the responsibilities of my position; more responsibility means more growth in participation of skilled athletes. It’s an important role in a district this size, when we’re actively trying to grow what we have.”
He added: “A stronger youth program will result in more success at the high-school level. That will take time, but I hope we’ll see it.”