OMG, Giants transfer to IMG to pursue athletic aspirations

October 25, 2020

For many Redwood athletes, COVID-19 has limited their ability to play sports, however, for senior track standout Jason Kuehne and junior lacrosse star Lucas Ross, the pandemic has spurred a search for new opportunities. At the height of the outbreak, last spring and summer, both Jason and Ross transferred to the International Management Group Academy (IMG), a prestigious and athletically focused private school, for the 2020-2021 school year. After contacting their respected coaching staff at IMG and submitting their applications, Jason and Ross made the move to Bradenton, Florida. 

While Jason made his final decision to transfer late in the summertime, Ross was convinced that he wanted to transfer after last year’s spring semester.   

“Online school was really difficult for me last spring, so I was thinking about transferring schools anyway. Also, I really like playing lacrosse and I want to play lacrosse in college, so going to a sports academy like IMG seemed like a great option,” Ross said.

Standing on the track, Jason smiles as he holds his winning ribbon. (Photo courtesy of Catherine Keuhne)

According to Jason, one of the main differences between IMG and Redwood, other than staying in a dorm away from home, is the rigorous sports schedule IMG student-athletes have. Jason has school from 7:40 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. before attending a three to four hour track practice. Conversely, the majority of Redwood students do not start their day until 8:30 a.m. Although Jason says the adjustment to the schedule has been challenging, he believes IMG is the best environment to prepare him for running track at the collegiate level. 

“It’s really a college prep school where [IMG’s main goal] is getting their athletes [into] college for their specific sport. By the end of the season, my hope is to be at college for my sport. The big thing here is getting you ready to live in a college environment while exposing you to new training regimens [in] many different college programs,” Jason said. 

Despite the fact that both Jason and Ross decided to attend IMG hoping to pursue their sports at the highest level, they also agree that attending in-person class is better than online. Additionally, Redwood’s average class size is around 28 students, the much smaller IMG 15 student class size has been another positive aspect for Jason. Another difference between IMG and Redwood is the weather. According to Jason, the hot, humid weather in Florida was difficult to get acclimated to.  

Despite the new challenge, something Jason enjoys at IMG is the strong community. 

Transferring is never easy, however, the IMG culture has made this new experience even more exciting. 

“My senioritis was already kicking in by the end of my junior year [at Redwood],”  Jason said. “Going here is a really refreshing experience. The people here are really cool and devoted to their sport. It all brings a sense of community that everyone lives together at all times.”

On top of the incredible culture at IMG, Jason’s mom, Catherine Kuehne, believes that IMG is the perfect transitional period before he tackles college. 

“The way I look at it is that he’s gone to college a year early. He [does not have] all that crazy freedom, but he does have [independence] in a controlled and safe [environment]. I think it’s a great stepping stone into his college career,” Catherine said. 

Smiling, Lucas Ross stands on the IMG lacrosse field. (Photo courtesy of Lucas Ross)

Unlike Jason, Ross is a junior and plans to come back to Redwood after finishing the year at IMG. Even though it is a change for Ross, he acknowledges that by the time he is a senior, the future outcome of transferring will be worth the sacrifice. 

“It’s obviously a huge change, but the reward after this year is going to be bigger. They teach you a lot here about not only about academics, but also about training and [lessons] for your personal life that you can take with you for the rest of your life,” Ross said.

Jason agrees with Ross and, even though he is missing his senior year at home with his Redwood friends, he believes attending IMG has helped him and will continue to be beneficial in the future. 


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