Junior Xander Rhynes plays safety for the Cougars, but with his lightning-fast track speed can play multiple positions and make an impact from just about anywhere on the field. Coaches speak very highly about Rhynes’ work ethic saying that he is one of the hardest working kids on the team. Rhynes is the type of player who will never miss a workout or the chance to improve on the field, track, or classroom.
However, when it comes to football Rhynes knows what he does well and how to use his skills and speed to his advantage.
“I am good at running with the ball,” Rhynes said. “My best quality is my vision or finding an open gap to run through.”
Rhynes also knows what he wants to see himself work on to improve and has been working hard in workouts and practices to do so. He is also working on his focus and mentality in game-time situations.
“I’ve been working on becoming more aggressive and not letting my mind get the best of me when I go in for a tackle,” Rhynes said.
Last season Ada ended their season short of the playoffs, but Rhynes still saw the optimism in the season.
“My favorite memory was beating Classen last year even though we didn’t make the playoffs,” Rhynes said. “Not a lot of people get to end their season on a win.”
This year he wants to see Ada take the next step and return to the promised land.
“We have one ultimate goal as a team,” Rhynes said. “It is to put that number 20 on the state championship board.”
One person that Rhynes admires in the community is former Ada standout Dan Cody who played in the NFL and currently assists with the Cougar football program.
“Dan Cody inspires me because he comes down and works with us almost every day and he does it all for free,” Rhynes said. “He does it because he wants to see us be on top again and disciplines us too.”
Although Rhynes loves football, his ultimate dream is becoming an Olympic Sprinter. He’s learned a lot by running track.
“After high school I want to run track at any college program that offers me,” Rhynes said. “I run the 400 meter in track and it has taught me to never quit, even when you’re tired.”