Morgantown’s Aidan Stire was one of 85 kickers from around the country who were invited to the exclusive 2022 Kicking World National Showcase in Austin, Texas, Dec. 3-4.
Stire received the invite based on his 100-percent performance at a regional Kicking World camp held in Columbus, Ohio, over the summer. The sophomore Mohigan earned the eighth-through-tenth-grade Golden Boot Award and was one of three kickers from that camp to earn the invite to Texas.
“It was an amazing experience and it was incredible meeting the other kickers from around the country,” Stire said. “Out of the 74 kickers who were there, there were 13 of us who were sophomores, so it was a real honor to be there with some of the best of the best. I was able to connect with some really talented coaches there who have played at the next levels, both college and NFL. I got a lot of pointers and technical coaching on my field goal kicks.”
On Day 1 of the showcase, the athletes received classroom instruction on college recruiting tips and strategies. They also charted kickoffs, punts and field goals. On Day 2 of the showcase, there was a competition split into upperclassmen and a younger division. They also met with a sport psychologist to focus on mental preparation, specifically for kickers.
During the competition stage, Stire had a personal best on a kickoff, going 70 yards in 3.75 seconds.
“Up until about 48 hours prior to takeoff, I was in bed with the flu,” Stire said. “I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to make it. So, I was happy with my performance. My goal for next year is to earn a return spot and place first overall.”
According to NationalKickingRankings.com, Stire is in the top 20 nationally, and No. 8 in the southeast region, of kickers in the class of 2025. He is rated as a four-star prospect by NKR.
“One thing that separates Aidan is that he’s a natural competitor,” said Matt McCullough, a former college kicker who now runs camps and trains with high school kickers throughout West Virginia. “At a young age, he was competing neck and neck with seniors in kicking competitions, which is rare due to differences in both physical and mental maturity.”
McCullough said Stire keeps an even keel when competing, never getting too high or too low. Especially in high-pressure game situations, successful kickers must maintain absolute control of their emotions.
“Aidan does an excellent job of this and it’s going to be an asset for his career,” McCullough said. “I’m very excited about Aidan’s potential and have full confidence he’s going to continue working hard in an effort to maximize his full potential.”
In the offseason, Stire works with another former collegiate kicker, Mark Johnson, who has developed a kicking-specific workout. Once a week he focuses on field goal kicking and lifts weights three times a week as part of soccer and football conditioning.
Stire is also a member of the Morgantown basketball team.
BY MATTHEW PEASLEE