Special to the Reporter
The nation’s first Standardized Athlete Test arrived on Mercer Island on Aug. 17 as Boost Sports Data, a Seattle sports performance company, and Colorado-based Zybek Sports gave local football and baseball players their first taste of an NFL-style combine.
“The SAT is going to be the new standard for all athletes,” said Andre Marshall, co-founder of Boost and a former minor league player with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Zybek, which has electronically timed the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine the last nine years and tests more than 100,000 U.S. high school athletes annually, introduced the notion of a national test for athleticism a few years ago to provide youth athletes with an objective assessment of their athleticism and a road map to reach the next level.
Nate Wenzel, a 17-year-old baseball player at Mercer Island High, said the combine gave him some much-needed perspective.
“I like the SAT camp because I was able to get precise numbers about me that I can use to get better as an athlete,” Wenzel said. “I think it’s important for every athlete to understand where they are and how to get better.”
Marshall said the SAT combine will be first of several his company will host with Zybek’s state of art technology.
“Zybek has information on over 100,000 youth athletes,” Marshall said. “So if a 13-year-old comes out and runs the 40-yard dash, his time is now compared with 13-year-olds all over the country and not Bo Jackson’s.”
By the end of 2020, Zybek Sports founder Mike Weinstein said he plans to have more than 100 SAT testing centers across the country.
“In order to accomplish the goal of standardized testing nationwide, everyone must be taking the same test and have it administered and graded the same way,” Weinsten said. “For so long, combines were hand-timed, which made it impossible to create a set of standards. Now, we’re getting closer to having all the athletes take the same core tests, measured on the same equipment, given by a person who is not their parent, coach or personally connected to them in some way.”
Nathan Buchan, a 16-year-old Mercer Island baseball and player, said he plans to return for the next Boost/Zybek combine.
“This combine showed me what I’m good at and what I need to improve on,” Buchan said. “And also how I ranked athletically compared to other outfielders my age.”
Will Cell, a 15-year-old baseball player from West Seattle High, wasn’t sure what to expect from his first NFL-style combine.
“It was very well-organized and clearly showed you what parts of your athleticism needed to be improved,” he said. “I liked being able to see the average of other people.”