Mahlmeister keeps eventful year going by signing with SSU
There was an episode of Spongebob where his friend Sandy the squirrel had one week before hibernation and she was trying to cram as much as possible into the short period of time and dragged a reluctant Spongebob along.
Sandy was lucky she didn’t enlist Jimmy Mahlmeister. He would have put her to sleep early.
In one of the most eventful seasons any single athlete could ever imagine, Mahlmeister seemed to cram an entire career into his senior year for the St. Joseph Flyers and it still isn’t over.
But one thing that is over is his “what’s ahead in the future” after he signed a letter-of-intent on Monday to play soccer for the Shawnee State Bears.
The signing of the record-setting goalkeeper was almost serene compared to his senior season.
First, he had to decide on a school and soccer program. Besides Shawnee State, Mahlmeister talked with Maryville College in Tennessee and Georgetown, Ky.
“It’s close to home. With all this COVID stuff nothing is guaranteed and I’d like to see some family come and support me at my games, so, it’s close to home and I’m not ready to move out quite yet,” said Mahlmeister with a grin.
After what has happened during the past months, staying close to home could help slow the pace.
As the Flyers’ goalkeeper the past three-plus seasons, Mahlmeister set a school record with 568 saves. This past season, the Flyers allowed just seven goals that included 12 shutouts.
“I had a great line in front of me,” said Mahlmeister.
It’s been an award-winning senior year for Mahlmeister. He was named to the first team for both the Coaches All-District and Southern Ohio Conference teams in soccer and then picked up a few honors as the placekicker for the Ironton football team.
Having never kicked a football before in his life, some friends of his at Ironton talked him into trying out as the team’s kicker. Thanks to grandfather John Mullins whose insurance agent was for Ironton and Ohio State star lineman Ken Fritz, Mahlmeister got a practice session with former Ohio State kickers Vlade Janakievski and Drew Basil.
The workout paid huge dividends as Mahlmeister was not only first team All-Southeast District in Division 5, but he was named first team All-Ohio.
While the football team was finishing as state runners-up, the Flyers soccer posted only the second unbeaten regular season in the program’s history, set a record for wins in a season with 17, set a record for consecutive wins with 17 as they opened the season with a 1-1 tie and never lost until the district finals when Lynchburg-Clay won 3-2 in a shootout after two scoreless overtime periods.
Despite his success in football and the prospects of playing duel sports at the next level, Mahlmeister elected to stick with only soccer.
“When I was trying to decide, a couple of football schools contacted me. But I’d only played football for one year and I played soccer my entire life, I just thought I’m going to stick with soccer. This is what I’ve truly come to love and what I’m going to stick with,” he said.
After the fall sports, Mahlmeister returned to the basketball court as the Flyers fought through three COVID shutdowns and posted a 12-6 record. He earned first team All-SOC honors and was named the SOC Division 1 Defensive Player of the Year. He was also second team All-Southeast District in Division 4 that should earn him honorable mention All-Ohio honors.
“During the summer, we were having workouts for soccer, basketball, football and you didn’t even know if you were going to have a season or what was going to happen,” said Mahlmeister.
“They shortened football (regular season) to six games and soccer they were able to do the full 22 games, the same with basketball. Unfortunately, we got shut down three separate times for basketball. We were still able to play the majority of our games. It’s been quite a ride so far and I’ve still got baseball left,” said Mahlmeister who will play centerfield and possibly pitch.
COVID was the biggest monkey wrench thrown into sports and everything else, but the ripple effect was more than just possible shutdowns.
“At the beginning when COVID had started, we weren’t able to leave the house so I wasn’t able to get out. I tried to stay in shape at home, go to the track and run a little bit. I wasn’t able to get in the PLC (Parish Life Center). It definitely hindered me a little bit but I was able to do stuff on my own and stay in shape to get ready for this year,” said Mahlmeister.
“It was a kind of tough because it lasted over two or three weeks. I couldn’t really do stuff except work on some footwork and stay in shape. But once those regulations were lifted, I was able to do goalkeeper stuff. I had my brother help me out and I had people just fire shots at me.”
Mahlmeister is hoping for a smoother fall season at Shawnee State in terms of no shutdown. He knows there’s plenty of work ahead as he looks for playing time against 6-foot-7 freshman Bas Markus and junior Corbin Betz.
There has been consideration by the Bears coaches to move Markus to the front line.
“They told me they have three goalkeepers at the moment. One is a 6-7 kid from the Netherlands who is their starting goalkeeper now. They have a senior who will be graduating by the time I get there and there’s one more who has been banged up. They told me I have a good chance of being the backup if not the starting keeper as a freshman,” he said.
Mahlmeister plans to major in special education but there could be a few supplemental vocations ahead as well such as coaching and officiating.
‘It’s in the back of my mind, but I’m still not 100 percent sure about that. Same thing with coaching. I’ve got that in the back of my mind, but whatever is in my path.
Something else that could be in his path is officiating. His grandfather Jim Mahlmeister, his dad Jimmy, his uncle Mike Mahlmeister and older brother Justin are or have been football officials. That leaves the legacy on Jimmy and his cousin Michael Mahlmeister who is a junior at St. Joseph.
“I don’t know if Michael is going to keep it up, so I guess I have to. You never know,” said Jimmy.
Besides his officiating, Justin was an assistant for the Flyers’ soccer team during Jimmy’s sophomore and senior seasons and the pair worked out some during the summer months as well.
“He helped me a ton,” Jimmy said of his brother who signed with Shawnee State as a goalie back in 2013.
“When I started my freshman year, I started up front, and towards the end of the year I told (Justin) they are thinking about putting me at keeper and do you think you can help me out. He took me down (to the field) a couple of days before my first game and he helped me out then and he helped me out during the summer between my freshman and sophomore year,” said Jimmy.
“He’s pretty much helped me every summer that he can.”
And with all that Jimmy Mahlmeister tries to do, that’s going to be a lot of help.
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