Certain athletes, through their physical presence and mental acuity, exude strength. Dolores Bears football star Ethen Upton is one of those athletes.
Standing 6'2 and weighing 185 pounds, Upton is certainly a physical specimen, who, thus far in the 2013 season, has made a major impact as a running back, tight end and linebacker.
"On the field, (Upton) plays both sides of the football," said Bears' head coach Chris Trusler of his standout senior. "He makes a lot of tackles. You can't ask for somebody with better hands on a football team."
Putting his offensive talents on full display in the Bears' Sept. 28 victory over Del Norte, Upton was everywhere, rushing for 168 yards and one touchdown, while passing for 81 yards and two touchdowns.
"I just try to pound the ball as much as I can and get every yard that I can," Upton said. "Football is a game of inches. I just try to get every inch that I can and do the best job that I can."
On defense, Upton was equally impressive, recording multiple tackles and also coming down with a key interception.
"Just knowing what is going on in the backfield and reading the backfield allows me to be a successful linebacker," Upton said.
As impressive as Upton's on-field performances have been, the senior's impact off the field has is equally striking. "(Upton) has stepped up and helped us out with the younger guys," explained Trusler. "He ensures that they are putting in the work and learning as much as they can every day."
A well-spoken and insightful individual, Upton has also performed well in the classroom, balancing athletics with academics to post a 3.0 GPA.
"I try to keep good grades," said Upton. "Sometimes, you miss a few days, so you fall back a little bit, but you try to just do the best that you can in school."
As for his future after the high school football season, Upton plans to compete in wrestling and baseball before graduation. Upon graduation, the senior hopes to attend college and earn a degree.
"I want to go to college and be a geology major," Upton said. "I would also like to participate in athletics in college."
Of the colleges considered by Upton thus far, Fort Lewis College has been the most intriguing because of scholarship opportunities the school provides.
"I'm looking at Fort Lewis because they have a very good tuition program with my Native American heritage," Upton said.
Before making any college decisions, however, Upton plans to enjoy his senior year and make the most of his time in Dolores.
"I love being a Dolores Bear," said Upton. "I love the canyon, and I love the weather out here. It's a great community. It's a very strong community."
And no doubt, the community is happy to call Upton its own. On so many levels, the senior epitomizes what it means to be a student athlete in Dolores.