Athletes welcome students for Sports Hero Day

(Photo by Bella Torgenson/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah — Student-athletes welcomed 1,100 elementary school students to campus for BYU’s annual Sports Hero Day Thursday.

The elementary school students participated in athlete-run drills and activities, spanning from passing volleyballs with the volleyball teams to sit-ups and pushups with the football team.

 Athletes also talked to the children about goal setting and how to be successful on and off the field.

“All the kids are always so excited to see the athletes,” said Whitney Young, a member of the women’s volleyball team. “It’s great to teach them new things and see their enthusiasm.”

Following a round of rotations, in which groups of students interacted with athletes from BYU’s 21 sports teams, the students gathered at the Smith Fieldhouse for an assembly on perseverance and hard work.

Cheerleader Brooke Renslow, soccer player Erica Owens, basketball player Tyler Haws and football player Kyle Van Noy each spoke to the students during the assembly, talking about what they learned from their heroes.

Renslow talked about overcoming challenges to achieve her goal of making the BYU cheer squad. She talked about working hard academically and getting involved in her school and community, besides just focusing on cheerleading; and how that helped her achieve her goals.

Haws talked about sitting on the bench for most of the season while on his third grade basketball team. The next year he wasn’t invited back to play on the team, but didn’t let it deter him. He worked hard, getting up at 6 a.m. in the summer to practice so he could make basketball teams.

“When you have challenges and tough times come, you have to keep moving forward and be optimistic,” Haws told the students.

Sports Hero Day is one of many opportunities during the year for BYU athletes to give back to the community.