Wheeler’s Tanner Gottschalk will attend Georgia College to study exercise science.

During his junior year, Tanner Gottschalk felt like he was out-of-shape.

“I always felt like I was underweight,” he said.

That is when Gottschalk started going to the gym. A year later, he had gained 25 pounds of muscle, and the experience has led him to a possible career.

“It helped me a lot,” said Gottschalk, a Positive Athlete nominee who played attack for four years on Wheeler’s varsity lacrosse team. “I really liked the results, and it gave me the right mindset.”

Gottschalk also said he liked the changes he saw on the field.

“I could see an increase in both my speed and strength,” he said.

Next, Gottschalk will be taking his personal experiences to Georgia College, where he plans on studying exercise science. His goal is to be a personal trainer, with an eye on opening his own gym. His goal is to help people recover from injuries and also reach their personal best.

Ironically, an injury to a friend may be the reason Gottschalk is where he is today.

“I started playing my eighth-grade year,” he said. “The first time I went to a game, I was in the seventh grade. My friend wanted me to play, and during that game, he broke his wrist.”

Despite the setback to his friend, Gottschalk really liked what he saw of the sport.

“I like the competitiveness of lacrosse,” he said.

During his career, Gottschalk helped lead Wheeler to two state playoff appearances. When the 2020 season was cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Wildcats were sitting in fifth place in Area 4-6A/7A and within striking distance of a third playoff spot in four years.

Gottschalk also said that this season provided one of his favorite moments of his career.

“It was fun having all my friends in the starting lineup,” he said. “We were all close friends who grew up playing the game, and now we were all playing.”

While the season did not end the way he wanted, he said the journey from his freshman to his senior season was a “wild ride,” and he hopes the players who follow him take advantage of their opportunities they have.

“It was fun. I enjoyed every moment,” Gottschalk said. “It’s basic. You have to enjoy every moment you have.”

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