Pratt High School senior Travis Theis has a busy summer with six football combine camps.

For as long as Pratt High School senior Travis Theis can remember, sports have played a major role in his life. This summer has been no different and six football combine camps have kept him busy as he works to put himself in a position to play football in 2019 at the college level.

Theis plays multiple sports in high school, including football, basketball and baseball, so there is never really an off-season. Time not playing that sport is still spent working out, practicing and preparing to resume playing that sport. It is a good thing football is his favorite as his summer has been filled with pigskin activity.

“Summer is the ‘off-season’ but football weights start at 6:15 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday,” Theis said. “We have three scrimmage sessions in the summer on Saturdays. I also have attended many college football camps this summer.”

Theis has participated in college football camps such as the 810 Varsity Combine, KC William Jewel Mega Camp, Lindenwood University Mega Camp, South Dakota University and South Dakota State University.

Combine camps like the 810 Varsity Combine are common in the process of college football recruitment because they take into account the football player’s height and weight as well as their ability to compete in intense drills and against other athletes.

The drills test for agility, strength, strategic and quick thinking and an overall awareness of the positions and plays.

“I went for more exposure,” Theis said. “In a small town like Pratt, it’s hard for out-of-state schools to see anything more than your film, so going to these camps gives you the opportunity to compete in front of many college coaches and for them to see you in person. I also went to a few to visit and see if I would seriously consider attending their school.”

The competition at the college camps was intense, Theis said, but overall, the experiences were worth it since it gives athletes the opportunity to rise to the challenge and meet it head-on.

“All of the camps had their fair share of big athletes and it helps you get an idea of where you really stand,” Theis said. “Competing against those guys also helps coaches determine if you can really play. Recruiting can be a harsh game, and you have to have something that nobody else has or you’re just another guy to them.”

Part of being a good athlete includes being coachable and being open to doing what is best for the team as a whole, so Theis is willing to adapt and take on new roles when necessary.

“I have played running back freshman through junior year but this year, I will be moving to quarterback,” Theis said. “My favorite position is running back and that’s what I plan on playing in college so it’s tough to move to quarterback this year but I believe it gives us the best chance to win.”

While playing sports has advantages including staying in shape and being able to represent the high school at locations around the state, Theis says that learning to be part of a team is one of the most valuable skills to have.

This team-building aspect was instrumental, Theis said, in the Pratt High football team’s state championship win in 2016.

“Life is a team game for most, and I know that I couldn’t do it without the people around me. That being said, everyone has the same goal, or should, and that’s why it’s special when you achieve that goal or give your all trying to achieve it,” Theis said. “The biggest part of team-building, to me, is having respect for each other and building strong relationships.”

When he is not playing sports or practicing for them, Theis tries to work part-time, spend time with friends and stay involved with whatever he can.

Unsure of exactly which major he would like to pursue in college, Theis says that he has considered doing something with coaching in the future so that he can positively influence young athletes the way that he has been influenced throughout his own athletic career.

“The most valuable lessons I’ve learned would be to have a great work ethic and that you get out what you put in no matter what you are doing,” Theis said.