Hopeful to follow in his older brother’s footsteps and secure a Division I football offer, Ashton Paine hasn't let the pandemic interrupt his workouts as a Tumwater High School wide receiver and cornerback. He's stepped it up.
The 6-foot-1, 165-pound junior is pushing harder even after the news that his football season was postponed to spring because of COVID-19. He chooses to optimize his extended preparation time.
“It gives us six more months to work hard and get better for the season,” Paine said.
He has a built-in role model in his brother, Dylan Paine, a Tumwater running back who recently committed to Washington State University. The two bonded over hard work while growing up together. The brothers next shared this connection in building strong relationships with their Tumwater High teammates.
The team from Tumwater, Washington, south of the state capital, set its goal to win the 2A state title for the 2019 season and it came away champions. It's a mindset instilled by the Thunderbirds' proven leaders.
“I don’t think you are going to find a better coaching staff anywhere for high school football in the world,” said Paine.
The renowned program at Tumwater High School continues to produce talent and win big following the 2017 retirement of Sid Otton, the winningest high school football coach in Washington state history.
Ashton Paine is a prime example of how the Thunderbirds’ culture greatly motivates its players. He's tireless in his football preparation.
“Football has taught me to be the best in everything I do when it comes to school and everything else in life,” Paine said.
When football resumes, he has goals to meet for the upcoming season. He intends to be a two-way starter for his highly competitive program. Unranked as a recruit, he's out to get noticed. He's using all resources available to him.
For an added boost, he's been developing his skills with the Ford Sports Performance 7v7 team in Bellevue, Washington. He travels up north several times a week to perfect his craft with others.
He also trains with Justin Wimberly of Wimberly Fitness in Tumwater, getting in workouts several times a week to stay in shape. When does this guy sleep?
Paine experienced great personal improvement last season, going from the Tumwater freshman team to the varsity following a summer of work. This class of 2022 prospect landed a roster spot and helped the Thunderbirds earn that state title.
Same as his brother, his goals now include creating interest in him with the top Northwest college teams, such as Washington, Washington State and Eastern Washington, and begin receiving scholarship offers.
“In about fifth grade, I really started working to be the best me that I could be so that I could have an opportunity to play college football at a competitive school,” Paine said.
He's contemplated a prospective career in sports medicine, but this high school junior has plenty of time left to determine that path.
For now, he pushes ahead with his workouts, which are endless. He has guidance on this.
“Remain humble and remember that you are never bigger than your team," he said. "There is always more to learn.”