Fans in the stands at high school athletic events will often hold their collective breath waiting for a completed pass, a third strike or a winning goal. Now imagine an elite student athlete, waiting for word about their collegiate future. Many young people dream of playing sports beyond high school, but few can accomplish those goals without a solid plan and proper preparation. That’s why Minnetonka High School (MHS) junior Nick Rooney and Orono High School (OHS) senior Andrew Jordan are working with Justin Musil at Elite Sports Advising to formulate a well-planned strategy to reach the next level in their academic and athletic achievement.
Musil has a degree in exercise and sports management from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, where he played college baseball. “I understand how kids need to train to achieve their athletic goals,” says Musil. “I work to discover what a student’s collegiate aspirations are, evaluate their academic and athletic standing, and then help them determine which colleges would be the best fit. A plan is devised based on what they want. Success is determined by how many of my student athletes end up at the colleges they aspired to.”
Rooney is a quarterback for the Minnetonka Skippers football team. He says he’s been playing football for as long as he can remember. An all-around athlete, he also plays outfield and pitches during baseball season. When Rooney transferred to Minnetonka High from Prior Lake this year, his former coach recommended that he meet Musil.
“I met Justin last winter right after football season,” says Rooney. “He’s a good guy. He knows how to approach and work with young people. He also understands that I want to go big in football. Getting a college scholarship is my main goal; Justin is helping me to achieve that goal. He works hard and is in contact with me every week.”
As part of a coordinated effort to elevate Rooney’s shot at a scholarship, Musil directs some of Rooney’s athletic training. He has also filmed and edited a skills video for use with potential college coaches, and provides Rooney with continuous advising.
Musil has many contacts in the sporting world that can benefit aspiring athletes, “but my goal,” he says, “is to help student athletes be successful. If a student says they want to play for Florida State, for example, that’s difficult, very competitive. Some players are ready for that level right out of high school. For others, we might devise a plan for them to play two years at a junior college first. I also have to help players handle injuries or other variables that can crop up. Each player’s needs are unique.”
Honor roll student Andrew Jordan is captain of the Orono baseball team. His success as a pitcher earned him an invitation to the Minnesota State Coaches Showcase at MHS. Afterward, he received a call from Musil. Jordan says, “Justin got a nod of approval from my coach and athletic director. He’s the real deal. My parents like him, too. He had lunch with my dad and we decided as a family to work with him. It’s going great. He has modified my training and workout routines, and he is in touch with college coaches on my behalf so I can focus on improving my game.”
Jordan had the lowest earned run average (ERA) on the OHS baseball team last year. He says he wants to further lower his ERA as well as increase his pitch speed and raise his batting average. He adds enthusiastically, “I also want to be a good team leader. “And with help from Musil, both he and Rooney know anything is possible.