Jackson grad Sykora welcomes chance to get back on diamond

Andy Harris
Suburbanite correspondent
Abram Sykora

COLUMBUS – Abram Sykora found himself in an unusual position when it came to his baseball career.

He was part of the 2020 senior class that missed larger chunks of its final year of high school both in the classroom and on the field – not to mention socially.

So having a chance to continue his college career and to play regularly as a freshman for the Capital University Crusaders has been, to say the least, a welcome experience.

“With missing my senior year, we were all just really devastated as a team because we thought we had a really good shot at making it far (in the postseason,” Sykora said. “It’s been great to see how all of my teammates doing so well (playing college baseball) and follow in their steps in college baseball.”

Sykora, a freshman outfielder for the Crusaders, has started in six games and played in eight contests so far, earning playing time in his first season of college baseball. He credited former Jackson teammates Trey Wright and David Graham for their work in helping him with his game, the college recruiting process and playing at the next level.

He pointed to Graham as someone who gave him good advice on picking a college and to be willing to put himself out there and take on new challenges, while crediting Wright for the work the duo did together in working on Sykora’s swing.

To put it mildly, a long line for former Polar Bears have enjoyed success collegiately and even professionally after graduation and every year, multiple Jackson players make the leap from high school to college. Some play locally, others at Division I schools outside the state and for a select few, at the professional level.

As those players have learned, even for players good enough to earn a spot on a college roster, the transition from high school to college comes with built-in challenges.

“It’s kind of different coming from high school you had to focus on grades at the same time as you were playing,” Wright said of having games now that the semester has come to an end and classes have wrapped up. “The past year was also difficult because throughout quarantine, you had to make sure you got work in as much as you could by yourself. But the biggest challenge for me so far has been adjusting to how much you have to handle at all at the same time with your grades and baseball.”

A big part of the adjustment to college baseball has been adding weight and strength for Sykora, who’s listed at 6 feet tall and 150 pounds. He says he’s added about 15 pounds since high school by working in the weight room and adding more meat and potatoes to his diet at the urging of the Capital coaching staff.

He went from eating a standard three-meals-a-day diet to consuming larger portions at each of those meals and eating what he’s been prescribed to help add muscle in combination with his efforts to build leg strength in the weight room.

He also consumes more fruits and vegetables to ensure that he’s getting enough vitamins in his diet. That diet not only helps fuel him on the field, but in the classroom as well. As an education major, he’s looking to become a middle school history teacher, following the career path of both of his parents, who teach in the Massillon City Schools district.

His father is an eighth-grade history teacher, while his mother teaches second grade. Walking that same path in his career and the path of many of his former teammates on the field will require plenty of hard work, but Sykora is eager to tackle the road ahead.