Trine University Kicker/Punter and sports management major Ryan Hibbets is certainly multi-talented. After his first season with the Trine Thunder, he’s hooked to the game, the team and their goals. As one of eight other freshman kickers, he was a starter for kickoffs and long field goals. In just his 2nd collegiate football game, he had set a school record.
“Along with that little milestone, the team ended up going 10-0 in the regular season and winning outright conference champions in the MIAA Conference. We ended the season in the Sweet 16 NCAA Playoffs with a record of 11-1. I kicked off 87 times and had 20 touchbacks, also had 2 field goals in the process. That was a good start, but now it’s time to go from 20 touchbacks to 40.”
Hibbets is always focused on the next goal, both for himself and his team. However, I’m sure by now, you’re all wondering, “why is a band blog featuring a football player?”
Hibbets, with his multiple talents, is also a very skilled trumpet player. Twin Lakes High School graduate and a member of the 2017 All-American Marching Band, he displayed not only talent, but the skills of a leader to his peers. Now in his college years, it’s rare to see someone continue two passions like these. We all know, football demands many extra hours of workouts, team events, and traveling for games. Band also cracks down on a student schedule, not to mention the demands of academics! Hibbets states, “With me being a band member and a football player, I feel as though the craft of being a musician is way under-valued compared to being an athlete. Athletes work hard, we all know that, but musicians have to work just as hard to get to the level of an All-American. Athletes get scholarships for their sport, but musicians can also get scholarships for performance. Everyone has their craft, no matter the physical demand. Everyone is a competitor until proven otherwise.”
Hibbets is currently playing trumpet in Trine’s Wind Ensemble and is in the University Choir. Ryan accredits some of his athletic skills as a kicker as going “back to the basics” in marching band.
“I see a huge correlation between my musicianship and my athletic ability. Being a kicker, I have to have pretty much perfect timing when approaching a kick. It’s the same as being a musician, timing is everything. [Additionally,] backwards marching requires you to be light on your feet. In football, everything I do on the field whether it’s kicking, running down field, or making a tackle, requires me to be light on my feet.”
It’s not often we see these worlds collide. However, Hibbets isn’t the only one through this experience that has had the joy of both football and band. Come to find, head football coach Troy Abbs has relatives who have been involved in Drum Corps International. Hibbets’ father marched Phantom Regiment in the mid-80s, so an immediate rapport was created, and of course conversation and reminiscing ensued!
Hibbets’ skills are unique, because he is very much in the public eye on the field on Saturdays and in concert settings throughout the year. He explains his public perception best. “All I hope is that it’s good and they remember my name for years to come. I just want to leave a legacy.”
Leaving a legacy is exactly what being an All-American is all about. Whether a band member or a football player, each All-American tirelessly works at their craft. It starts with talent, but digs deeper into a sense of community and overall citizenship. The All-American Bowl has always offered a unique opportunity to young men and women. The event serves as a reward for hard work, but also as a moment of growth during crucial high school years. Now as a collegiate athlete, Hibbets has taken his leadership skills gained at the All-American Bowl back to his community. He volunteers on campus and serves as a mentor to new campus recruits. He spends much of his time focusing on goals, not only for himself, but for others.
Hibbets offers the following insight, “If a group of people trying to get to one goal, they need to all work together. It doesn’t matter if you hate the person to your left, or love the person to your right, if everyone’s mind is set on the same goal, you will succeed sooner or later. My advice to kids of any age pursuing their dreams is to ignore everyone who doubts you. I had doubters and still do. You have to have the right mindset, or your goals won’t be achieved. You will get your chance, and only you will know when to seize your moment.”
All-Americans represent their communities in San Antonio and return with lifelong skills that impact generations to come. Ryan continues to epitomize what being an All-American is all about. All American Games congratulates Ryan and Trine University on a successful season. Best wishes for next fall!
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