By Abby Witt, Sports Writer
It’s 5:40 a.m. and most college students are looking at the insides of their eyelids, still sound asleep in their beds. Meanwhile, the Asbury University baseball team is beginning one of the most physically demanding workouts around.

Since the second week of school junior Kent McLay has been using his ROTC background to equip members of the baseball team in the most physically demanding way they have ever trained. “I thought they would hate me when we started this, but it’s been nice to watch them get motivated, cheer each other on and really rally around the guys.”

Head coach Manny Cervantes has enjoyed watching his guys gain more than physical strength and agility, but grow as individuals and teammates. “The guys are exhausted, but when they finish they are getting an enormous sense of accomplishment and a satisfied feeling of doing more than they thought they could.”

Coach Cervantes is approaching the off-season with a new method to his coaching technique by using Kent to help train his team. “The biggest benefit has been peer to peer coaching,” he said. “Honestly, it’s more efficient than having a coach ask the players to do something. They are willing to work harder because it is one of their classmates.”

Even with Kent leading them as a peer, everyone understands they are a collective unit working together. “I made it clear from the beginning that I don’t view myself as better than them. Someone tried calling me ‘sir’ and that’s not me at all. It’s been clear from the beginning that, yes, they have to listen to me, but I am no better than them,” said McLay.

This must be working in favor of the Eagles since everyone has already seen the benefits. “There has been a big mentality change from the guys,” said Cervantes. “I wanted them to realize they are tough enough to do what I’m asking and get closer as a team, and both have already been accomplished. Everything from this point on is just a bonus, and I hope this translates into more wins for the guys.”

Luckily, these extreme workouts are not over yet. According to Coach Cervantes, he has plans for his team to continue this training into mid-November, ending with a total of 12 weeks under their belt.

“A lot of our student-athletes want to know why they are doing something and to me there are four reasons: physical conditioning, mental toughness, team building and discipline/accountability,” said McLay. All of these lessons are being taught every Monday through Thursday as the players rotate mornings at the Luce. Kent has enabled his ROTC training to encourage these guys in all aspects of Coaches hopes for his players in growing as athletes and people.

Maximum effort, positive attitude and serving others are what Coach Cervantes is hoping these guys can finish every day doing as a team – “If we do these three things no matter what the results are, they will be just fine.”