COLLEGE BOUND…Gunnar Oakes, seated third from left, will continue his football
career at Eastern Michigan University.
To say Gunnar Oakes of Swanton had a successful senior season athletically would be an understatement. Being named AllOhio in four different sports is unheard of in this day and age of kids specializing in a specific sport at an increasingly young age. But the Swanton Bulldog graduate did just that this past season, earning All-Ohio recognition in football, basketball, baseball, and track. Oakes, who has played four sports since his freshman year, said each year was easier when it came to managing his time. “Whatever season was coming up I just made that my priority when it came to offseason work”, stated Oakes, who has moved in and began football workouts at Eastern Michigan University. “My coaches were great about understanding the situation and knowing I’d be there when I could. I only did a couple regular season track meets this year because baseball was my priority during spring sports but everybody understood that.” Oakes will stick to just football at Eastern Michigan based on just the fact sports at the Division I level are a year around commitment. With no plans right now to redshirt, he is working to see some playing time this fall.
Going in to his senior year last summer, Oakes decided football was going to be his main focus because he and his coaches felt that was the best opportunity to play at the next level. The results showed on the field with him racking up 52 receptions for 831 yards and 12 touchdowns from the receiver position. He was also a key contributor on defense for the Bulldogs with 72 tackles and 2 interceptions from his safety spot. Those numbers garnered him 1st team All-NWOAL honors on both offense and defense along with Division V All Ohio 1st team as a receiver. Combine that with the success of the Swanton football team his junior and senior year and you can see why Eastern Michigan was so interested in this 6’5”, 215 pound, multi-sport athlete who also had a high school accumulative grade-point average of 3.48 during his four years. The accomplishments continued in basketball as well with Oakes averaging 20.4 ppg, which was tops in the NWOAL, to go along with 9.5 rebounds per contest. During his senior year he went over the 1,000 point plateau finishing his career with 1,178 points along with four varsity letters in the sport. He also earned 1st team All-NWOAL honors and was named to the All-Ohio 2nd team in Division III. Oakes was tough on the baseball diamond as well, the centerfielder finished 3rd in the NWOAL in batting average, hitting .439 on the season with 2 home runs, 25 rbi’s, and 20 runs scored. For his career, he was a .352 hitter with 89 runs scored, two-time 1st team All-NWOAL (including this season), and was named Honorable Mention All-Ohio Division III this year. Despite backing off in his time spent with track, Oakes still made his presence felt. After being NWOAL champion in 2015 and 2016, and a District and Regional champion last year as a junior, he followed that up with a 7th place finish this season at the state track meet with a jump of 6’3” and that secured him All-Ohio in his four sports this year. That was one spot better than last season’s 8th place finish in Columbus.
When asked if there was a certain coach who had a major impact on his high school career, he had two names come to mind. “It would have to be coach (Mike) Vicars and coach (Tim) Spiess. Coach Vicars made things such a family atmosphere and I spent a lot of time with Coach Spiess traveling to camps during the summer and got to know him very well”, said Oakes. That is probably one of the reasons why Oakes said without hesitation that football is his favorite sport of the four and why you’ll see him making plays this fall for the Eastern Michigan Eagles.