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Senior Spotlight: Patrick Bauer

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Back from boot camp, trimmer Bauer set to help Vandals

By Andrew Harner

Some 80 pounds trimmer and with the physical benefits of 11 weeks of National Guard training packed into his new frame, Vandalia senior Patrick Bauer feels like a new man.

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Weighing as much as 250 pounds during his junior soccer season, Bauer knew something needed to change, and joining the National Guard and thinking about his family history was enough motivation for him.

“I started losing weight because of (the National Guard), but also because I realized that I was becoming overweight and it was becoming an issue,” he said. “My family has a history of diabetes, so I don’t really want to go down that line.”

It was a remarkable turnaround that saw Bauer find strength and encouragement from God, his family and especially his teammates, as he dropped his weight to 170 pounds and improved his muscle mass.

Coach Walt Kinney said that dropping the weight has not only made Bauer a better, healthier person, but, naturally, a better soccer player, too.

“As much as he played last year, and as much as he did for us last year, he has done that and 100 times more already,” Kinney said. “Not just for shedding the pounds, but for being a leader on the field.”

Bauer plays both in the center of the field and in goal for the Vandals, but his slimmed-down body has allowed him to stay on the field for longer periods of time.

And being back in high school has allowed him to stay in bed a bit longer.

While training at Fort Benning, which is close to the Georgia/Alabama border, Bauer was up by 4 a.m. every morning to partake in an hour of physical training.

“They ran me,” he said. “Hard.”

He now rises every morning at 5:30 a.m., but that will only last until the end of the school year, because next summer, Bauer will be back to that early training regimen.

Throughout the school year, he will attend one Recruit Sustainment Program every month, and he will finish his training in the summer with his Advanced Individual Training session.

“We were in a hard time with money, so I needed a way to pay for college, and I figured it would help better myself,” Bauer said of joining the service. “I feel pretty proud (to serve).”

That college, Bauer hopes, will be Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, where he would like to study architecture.

But before he creates plans for buildings and the like, he hopes to devise a plan to stay on the soccer field for all 90 minutes of a game before the season ends in October.

The first step might just be tying his shoes tighter.

“I would like to play the whole game without stopping,” Bauer said. “I’m almost there. I had to get a sub today because I had to tie my shoe.”

Kinney said it will be a challenge for Bauer to attain that goal, but the coach isn’t going to stand in his way – if Bauer is still performing at a high level without a break.

“It’s tough,” Kinney said. “We have very few players that have played all 90 minutes of the game, but if he’s OK and good to go, I’ll be happy to let him play the whole 90.”