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Bluestem Pace Athlete Spotlight – Gabe Riffel, Sterling

Sterling senior offensive lineman Gabe Riffel has one thing on his mind as he enters his final season with the Black Bears: make the playoffs.

In 2021, Sterling went 1-8 and last season the Black Bears improved to 4-5.

There is plenty of returning talent in 2023, so Riffel wants to make sure his final season in the black and white a successful one, which means playing into November.

“I’m excited to see how our team will improve from last season,” Riffel said. “We have some young talent so it will be cool to see how they gain confidence on the field and grow closer as a team with them. We haven’t had a bond like this in a while which is very encouraging to see for the program.”

Throughout the offseason, Riffel’s workouts have been geared towards staying on the field and being energized while on it.

“I’ve been going to our school weights and conditioning to get in shape for the upcoming season,” Riffel said. “On top of that I’m doing a lot of injury prevention workouts. I also talk with my coaches about certain plays and discuss what works best for the football team.”

The on-the-field talent is unquestioned for Riffel, as he was a first team all-league selection last season. But it’s the intangibles and leadership skills that Riffel wanted to improve.

“In order to make sure the entire team has a good leader I’ve been making it a point to encourage others and by stepping into a leadership position off the field as well,” Riffel said. “This is something I really want to improve on because I think it is so important for the team’s success. This off season I will be attending a leadership camp in hopes to improve on my skills in this area.”

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