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CLOVIS - Elon Paige trains local high school and youth athletes at Legion Training Camp in Clovis.

Paige trains Kingsburg soccer and softball player Taryn Irigoyen, who is entering her sophomore year at the high school. Paige puts Irigoyen through an intense workout that works on full-body strength and agility.

Throughout the workout, Paige said to Irigoyen “Last one T, you got this!” to motivate the sophomore to finish her workouts. The workout lasted for one hour and 15 minutes.

For Irigoyen, Paige is more than just a trainer.

“It’s a family environment,” Irigoyen said. “He checks up on us on our mental game, physical game. He’ll make time to go to all of his athletes' games.”

Irigoyen said she looks to Paige as an older brother.

“I’ve gotten so close to him,” Irigoyen said. “I’ve only been going for a year and he calls me ‘sis’ and we treat each other like family.”

After Taryn Irigoyen’s session, Paige worked with her younger brother Caleb Irigoyen at Alta Sierra Intermediate School.

Caleb Irigoyen is a youth football player and is an eighth grader at Rafer Johnson Junior High. The younger Irigoyen trained at the football stadium at Alta Sierra with freshman football players Everett Bunch of Clovis West and Travis Sirwet of Buchanan. Their session included agility, footwork and pass catching drills.

An important thing Paige kept telling the trio of players during the drills was “always run to the line” like they would during a game.

“He teaches us how to be great in sports and other stuff,” Caleb Irigoyen said. “He pushes us really hard.”

For Paige, training is not only about improving them on the field, but he wants them to be successful outside of sports.

“It’s about building leaders,” Paige said. “I’m looking beyond the sports side of it. I always try to raise these young kids to think outside the box and not just look at [themselves as] an athlete. No, that’s not who you are, that’s what you do. There are so much more facets of life that you could involve yourself in.”

Paige trains athletes at Legion Training Camp but his business is Purpose Field, which is a faith-based company focusing on physical, mental and spiritual health. He considers the weight and agility training as a supplement to the life coaching he does for his students. The organization also participates in homeless outreach, which is something Paige’s students do every month.

Prior to founding Purpose Field in 2013, Paige played football at Clovis West High School, Sacramento State (2005-08) and Southwest Baptist University - an NCAA Division II program in Missouri where he studied for a master’s degree in business administration. His father is Stephone Paige, who played football for Fresno State and the Kansas City Chiefs.

The younger Paige had a four-year career in arena football and his short time as a professional athlete is one of the reasons he tells his students to look beyond a career in sports.

“Sports only last for so long,” Paige said. “It’s a just a temporary thing. Not a lot of guys end up playing like Tom Brady for 17-18 years. Some guys play for two, some play for three years.”

Paige decided to start Purpose Field in Fresno with the intent of helping young athletes in the area where he grew up in.

“I saw a need in Fresno,” Paige said. “I could have stayed in Sacramento.  I could have gone to a big place, but I think this is a place that needs leaders.”

Other than Taryn and Caleb Irigoyen, Paige trains other athletes from Kingsburg including high school players Alfred Carpenter (football/wrestling), Lillie Hodges (swimming) and Kahlia Jensen (softball). Softball player Kendra Hodges is another Kingsburg youth athlete Paige trains. Paige also trains college and professional athletes.

Paige tries to attend as many games as he can of his students.

“I love watching my kids play,” Paige said. “I’ll never get tired of that. It’s amazing because I see the fruits of our labor. I see all the stuff we work for all summer, all the stuff we work for in the offseason. It makes me proud to see them dominate when I’m there. It’s amazing.”

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Jeremiah Martinez can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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