Student Athlete of the Week: Long Beach High’s Nathanial Mink
This week on Student Athlete of the Week, News 25’s Grace Boyles heads to Bearcat Country and shines a spotlight on Long Beach senior Nathanial Mink.
Despite picking up swimming his sophomore year and track his senior year, Mink’s heart belongs to soccer.
“I kind of broke down because it was after all those hard works– all those hard practices and stuff and it finally paid off.”
After three years of title game heartbreak, Long Beach was at long last crowned 5A boys soccer state champs back in January.
For senior captain Nathanial Mink, who had been a part of three second-place squads, leading his team to the program’s first state title was an unforgettable experience accompanied by a huge sigh of relief. “I think they all said ‘finally.’ It’s about time after three state finals. But everyone was happy that we finally got it done. And I got a couple high fives, so I’ll take it.”
The defenseman credits the game of soccer, along with his humble beginnings, for bringing out his competitiveness and making him want to be the best at whatever he does even when it meant being the team’s camera man his freshman year. “I hate watching people do the things that I wanna do. But I knew I had a place and I had a job to do for the team and so I knew what I was doing was good.”
Growing up as one of five, Mink says he didn’t grow up with the fancy things in life. However, the middle child was rich in support. “You know, having five siblings, having five people there to always be there for you and push you to be the best really got me to where I am today.”
As if becoming a state champion wasn’t special enough, Mink hoisted up a gold ball right alongside his younger brother Alexander. “I think it’s awesome that the one time I win it’s with my brother. And I think that he’s going to do great things as well here and hopefully get another state championship in his four years as well.”
When asked if there was anything he wanted to make sure was a part of his story, Mink said that he wanted to include how important faith has been in his life. The senior is heavily involved in his church and says he wouldn’t be where he is today without it. “God has a lot of things to do with that. And, you know, just to be thankful for that I’m here and that I can do the things I wanna do is great and I always thank Him for everything He’s given me in life.”
Just days after winning a state title, Mink was named defensive MVP in the Coast Soccer All-Star Game as a part of a 3-1 victory for the west team. “Going into a team that I’ve never– I don’t know the players or anything and be able to show out and show my skills was a good experience.”
The next time Mink laces up his cleats, he’ll be doing so for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College where he hopes to find a math-related major to study.
If you know of anyone on the Coast that deserves to be featured as News 25 Student Athlete of the Week you can contact Grace Boyles via email at GBoyles@wxxv25.com or on Twitter @GraceBBoyles or on Facebook at Grace Boyles WXXV.