PORTSMOUTH — Participating in a game — both virtually and in reality — can help a person form friendships that will last a lifetime.
As a collegiate student-athlete, Mitchell Patchett has been blessed to compete at a high level in both men’s soccer and Esports.
However, the relationships that he’s established with his teammates — both at Dublin Jerome High School outside of Columbus and at Shawnee State — have been what has meant the most to him.
“I couldn’t imagine going through school without being a part of either program,” Patchett said. “Each sport has brought a new meaning to what it means to grow as a team. The people that I have met are incredibly hard-working and have done a great job giving their student-athletes a great experience. Each year has seen better success than the one before, and I can’t wait to top it all off in my senior year with my teammates.”
After dabbling in ice hockey in addition to soccer, and scoring eight goals and notching seven assists as a hockey player on Dublin Jerome’s junior varsity squad, Patchett solely focused on the latter sport from his sophomore year of high school on.
He — along with a strong class that included Ian Black, Brennan Davis and Cole Durant — completely changed the direction of Dublin Jerome’s program in a hurry.
Once a program that scored only 27 goals in 18 games en route to a 5-9-4 season that ended in a Division I sectional championship loss in 2012, the quartet gradually pushed the Celtics up the ladder.
Dublin Jerome went 7-6-6 in Patchett’s sophomore year and 11-4-3 in his junior season with the program — all while upping the team’s goal tally to 46 during the 2014 campaign.
In 2015, however, the pieces all came together for an outstanding run.
Fueled by the presence of the above quartet — along with standout reserve goalkeeper Sam Keener, Zachary Zolio, Ben Sobotka and Patchett’s younger brother Carter among others — Dublin Jerome scored 60 goals in 21 games, gave up only 19 defensively, and steamrolled its way to the program’s first Division I Central District championship since 2008 and a regional final appearance, the program’s third such in school history at that time.
In addition to going 17-2-2, the Celtics’ two losses were to teams that ultimately made appearances in the OHSAA state championships, including Division II state champion St. Francis DeSales and Division I state finalist Hillard Davidson.
All of the players mentioned earned scholarships to play college soccer — with Patchett, his three senior teammates and Keener all earning opportunities to play at the NCAA Division I level.
Patchett was also named a Division I second-team all-Ohio honoree for his efforts during Jerome’s run through a gauntlet of a schedule.
The Celtics also have solidified themselves as a power to stay.
Since its 11-win season in 2014, Jerome has won at least 10 or more games in five out of the last six years — thanks in large part to Patchett establishing a winning culture once again with his leadership and work ethic on the pitch.
“Once I entered college, it was clear to me how well Jerome prepared me not only academically, but in life as well,” Patchett said. “I felt ahead of the game. The student-athlete experience there was great. With our soccer success, a lot of us had grown up playing the sport together, and accomplishing a district championship along with a regional final appearance was very important to us. I also got to play my senior season with Carter and enjoy that success with him. Those are lifelong memories that I will never forget.”
After initially attending Western Michigan, Patchett transferred closer to home after making the trek to southern Ohio to play for Shawnee State.
The genuine personalities of Ron Goodson and Mark Trapp, Patchett said, were and have been critical throughout his time playing for SSU to this point — referring to both men as “genuine people with a lot of love for the game of soccer.”
Throughout his first three seasons on campus, that’s shown as Patchett has embraced different roles all over the infield for Shawnee State — while carrying over his high school productivity.
He scored three goals and added in four assists during his redshirt freshman season in 2017, then posted a four-goal, two-assist campaign this past year for a unit that matched Shawnee State’s best record in program history at 9-9-1 — and posted more goals (45) than any other unit during the last decade.
“It was a great feeling to match the work that we did in the offseason,” Patchett said. “We’re working harder now than we have before, so I hope that our record this season will reflect that.”
Over the past two years, Patchett has also been a consistent member of the Esports program.
An avid gamer, especially in League of Legends, Patchett has already collected several highlight moments — posting two triple kills in one match in a 2-0 victory over Saint Mary’s (Kan.), notching 17 kills in a 2-0 victory over Youngstown State, and adding in 15 kills combined in matches against Kent State and Akron.
He credits his success as a gamer to the hands-on coaching and energy that Kyle Trapp and Travis Lynn bring to the table as the leaders of the Esports program, as well as his teammates for how they prepare and study for upcoming matches.
“Kyle is very good at keeping me up to date with everything that’s going on Esports related, and that really has helped me keep things balanced,” Patchett said. “Travis, meanwhile, works very hard as well. His energy makes the Esports facility fun to be around. Playing League of Legends with my teammates is such a unique experience. The way we prepare and study our upcoming matches is super fun, and it’s a great feeling when it pays off.”
Despite balancing soccer and Esports simultanously, Patchett has also maintained a good standing in the classroom.
A major in game design, Patchett holds a 3.11 GPA and has notched over 100 hours of academic credit with a full year of athletic eligibility still remaining.
Along with his academic success and Esports experience, Patchett’s been very pleased with the work that new assistant coach Ryan Warner has already put in with the program.
His presence on the staff is one of many features that the senior-to-be is excited about as the 2020 season draws near.
“He’s already worked really hard to make sure that we are ready for our matches in 2020,” Patchett said of Warner. “I’m hoping to take another giant step forward with the team. We got it done during the non-conference portion of our schedule last year. Hopefully, we can extend that success into the conference contests this year.”
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