Two-sport athlete, Wyatt Thompson, has committed to playing Division 3 college baseball and basketball for Thomas College in Waterville, Maine.
To have the opportunity to play college sports is a lifelong dream come true for the Grade 12 Twin Lakes Secondary School student.
“It’s been my goal since I started playing sports and seeing college players on TV,” Thompson said.
“I’ve always talked with my friends about being able to play college basketball, so to be able to make it a reality is what I’ve always wanted.”
The 18-year-old has also netted himself an academic scholarship after putting himself in a position to graduate from secondary school this summer on the honour roll. He will be studying finance at Thomas College.
“All the coaches and adults I’ve talked to have always said worry about the classroom and getting good grades because that’s what is most important, and it’s definitely true,” Thompson said.
“My work in the classroom is what’s made this opportunity possible for me.”
Thompson has been playing both basketball and baseball since he started in T-ball. Over time, he began working hard and training seriously in pursuit of making a career out of playing the sports he loves.
“I started networking with different schools and preparing to take my sporting career to the next level,” Thompson said.
When Thompson began pursuing his post-secondary sporting career, he had Division 1 offers for baseball, but his priority was to go to a school that would let him play both sports.
“I was looking for schools that would take me to play both, that was my goal from the beginning,” he said.
Thompson also had offers to play for a college or university in Canada but he was fearful of the current state of the pandemic and how it’s being handled by the government.
“That’s a part of why I’m going this year and not waiting another year to hone my skills and get more experience here,” he explained.
“I’m worried about what will happen here or what won’t happen as far as being able to play.”
While Thompson’s talents shine brightest in baseball, he’s made a lot of progress over the last few years on the hardwood. The shooting guard was the only player from the Orillia area to make the Simcoe County all-star game back in his Grade 11 year.
Thompson has spent most of his playing career with the Orillia Lakers and more recently with the South Simcoe Supersonics in Bradford where he met coach Mike Nadon.
“He’s really helped me find a love for playing basketball and has taught me the skills I needed to work on my game,” Thompson said.
“My mom played college basketball, too, so she’s taught me a lot of things like rebounding and being loud on the court; she really helped me learn those things at a young age.”
Thompson has also been waking up at four in the morning five days a week to train at RWI Basketball in Vaughn, which has helped him prepare for the post-secondary level.
For basebal,l Thompson has spent his career with the Orillia Royals and won a provincial championship back in 2016. The right-handed pitcher credits coach Wes Winkel for helping him.
“Wes taught me how to have fun but still take the game seriously. He taught me the love for baseball and sports in general,” Thompson said.
“He’s helped me perfect my game and he’s installed a winning mentality in me.”
Thompson has also learned a lot from the work he’s put in playing catch with his dad.
“I haven’t had a lot of professional pitching training up until this year, so my dad was the one who would take me to play catch and teach me all the mechanics and fundamentals,” he said.
While Thompson is excited for the next stage, he admits there is some nervousness about moving to another country to pursue his goals.
“It’s definitely a scary thing to do, especially leaving my friend group who I play basketball with. I’m really close with those guys, so leaving them is going to be hard,” he said.
“But it’s the best option for me as far as progressing my career in basketball and baseball, and the big thing I’ve learned through sports is that you have to be willing to be uncomfortable to grow.”
Once Thompson gets settled in down south, he is hoping to make an immediate impact for his new teams.
“I’m not entirely sure where I’ll be with the teams off the hop in terms of my role, but I want to be able to make a big impact on games and wins,” he said.
Once his college career is over, Thompson’s dream is to play professional basketball. Off the court, he plans to work in the financial field as a trader, investment banker or portfolio manager.