Marist Football’s Mike Sanchez, number 36, is approaching a season of redemption—in reference to both his team’s fate and his personal health.
As a redshirt sophomore linebacker, Sanchez tore his meniscus and suffered various in-season hardships and holds great motivation to re-enter strongly.
In 2016, Sanchez played in nine games, resulting in six tackles and one quarterback hit. Marist was depending on his leadership and overall skill level for the 2017 season, but have been setback with his recent injuries during a spring scrimmage game.
“I partially tore my MCL during a scrimmage in August,” he said. Sanchez was lucky enough to come back during week 5, but in just another two weeks, another part of his knee began to bother him—as he had torn his meniscus as well.
This resulted in Sanchez’ official ejection from the rest of the playing season and his subjection to surgery.
Sanchez enters the season with high confidence and readiness to overcome his recent hardships.
“I think my style of play will not change very much. The main focus for me now is to focus on getting healthy and I have already set up working on my speed for the next several months,” he said. “I believe I will be back, faster and stronger than I’ve ever been.”
“I feel our progression has grown as an entire team due to the fact of how more serious we are. My first two years here I felt winning and losing wasn’t taken as seriously as I was used to,” said Sanchez. “All winter, summer and going into the season the attitude changed. That is one of the most important things when coming into the season.”
While taking time out of the season to nurse his injury, Sanchez is at practice and on the sideline during games acting as a vocal leader and a mentor to young players.
“The person that I go to with almost all of my problems and mentoring is Ruben Avalos (5th year senior) and Willie Barrett (Senior)—those two are like my older brothers,” he said. “It’s funny because sometimes the coaches would sometimes mix up Ruben and I.”
“While I still have my own mentors, I also mentor some of the younger guys on this team—like Grant Dixon,” he continues, adding that he was actually Dixon’s host on his official visit, and his freshman year “big brother” at pre-season camp.
Sanchez addresses the negativity that can oftentimes surround campus regarding the football program. “This team works extremely hard, and I say that because sometimes I hear students talk negatively about the team.”
“Our record is better than what we are, it’s just the little things about this game that we need to fix—mark my words that those little things will be fixed.”
Keep a look out for number 36 as he is coming back faster and stronger looking into next year.