Genetics, upbringing, and hard work play a large role in how successful an athlete will be. When you take a track star who received a scholarship to Mid America combined with a baseball star who tried out for the Florida Marlins, you’ll see the makeup of a hard working gridiron star, Hunter Baca.

Growing up, Baca fondly remembers emulating the players on the field In Roswell, N.M. These were his own games of football behind the scoreboard with all his friends. Because he lived in close proximity to the high school, he was able to ride his bike to the fields and workout and learn from the older players during the summer months.

As the older brother to Camrie and Halston, he’s leaving some big shoes to fill in the area of athletics, but then again, he’s followed the path of his proud parents who attend every game and cheer their son on to victory. Like most young athletes, Baca grew up playing everything and anything that involved a ball.

He played t-ball, which morphed into baseball, until the eighth grade, as well as basketball up until his freshman year. When a back issue forced Baca to pick only one sport and leave the rest behind, the decision was easy: football.

He excelled as a slot receiver and tight end for the 2013 Steers varsity team and looks to fill the vacancy left by graduating star wide receiver Bryce Reeves, on top of some additional playing time backing up one his best friends since the sixth grade, Mike Freeze. Incidentally, Baca calls Freeze, the Steers strong safety, “one of the greatest athletes he knows.”

Read the entire story in this weekend's Graham Leader.