By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Between picking up various awards and honors like the Journal West 10 Media Male Athlete of the Year, the former two-sports standout is now calling Nashville home at his dream school of Vanderbilt University.
It was a few years ago after he watched the Commodores win the 2014 NCAA National Baseball title that the Vandy program became an ideal destination for Kolwyck. By his sophomore year at Arlington, Kolwyck had taken one step closer to his dream meeting Commodores Skipper Tim Corbin.
While at the Arlington Tiger Baseball summer camp under the guidance of Head Coach Chris Ring, a sophomore Kolwyck earned a spot for Team Tennessee playing on the level of current Major League Baseball star Mookie Betts. It was there Kolwyck met Corbin and Ring labeled his young star a legitimate Vandy prospect.
“I asked Tate, ‘If you could play anywhere or go anywhere, where would you like to go?’” Ring recalled. “Tate said, ‘Coach I would like to go to Vanderbilt.’ I said, ‘If you keep working hard, I think that dream could come true.’ And it was not just the athletics, it was the academics too.”
Kolwyck has reached his dream with years of work on the diamond and gridiron. While being a standout shortstop for Tiger Baseball, Kolwyck could have concentrated on fielding and hitting. Instead, he earned the starting quarterback job at Arlington.
Kolwyck was so good on the gridiron that he earned an All-Star selection to the 2017 AutoZone Liberty Bowl High School All-Star Game.
But Kolwyck made the most headlines at Arlington during the spring for Ring’s program.
“He was one of the most special players we’ve had in our program,” Ring said. “We’ve been very blessed with a lot of great players in our program. He stood out in more than just his talent. Very unselfish player, very positive, he wasn’t ever down.
“As a person, I’ve been coaching 13 years as a head coach now, there’s been a handful of players I can honestly say reach a level of maturity as a teenager that is rare,” he added. “He was definitely one of them. Very mature and very unselfish. He was very talented in a lot of aspects as far as his character, his integrity, work ethic, grades and obviously a multi-sport athlete.”
Kolwyck was named to the Tennessee All-State team three times. During 2018, Kolwyck returned to the diamond for his final campaign with the Tigers after missing two weeks with a hamstring strain. With 68 appearances at the plate, he batted .382 with an on-base percentage of .528. Kolwyck had a slugging percentage of .691 with 26 hits.
He jacked 5 home runs and smacked 6 doubles. Those hits drove in 20 runners and helped Arlington reach State this past season.
His numerous achievements and accomplishments earned him the Journal West 10 Media top honor for male athletes in the coverage area. Kolwyck spend most of his summer outside of West Tennessee, presenting his baseball coach a chance to receive the award in his honor.
“The reason he could not accept this, he literally had one day at home after we were with the State Tournament,” Ring noted. “He traveled up to Martha’s Vineyard and played for the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks. He played with them and he was one of two incoming freshmen to play on that team. The rest were juniors. And he did well. He struggled a little to be expected. Coach Corbin knew that and that’s why he wanted him to be a part of that.”
The Martha’s Vineyard Sharks are a collegiate summer baseball team based on Martha’s Vineyard and is a charter member of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. Kolwyck got exposed to a wood-bat league composed of nine teams from New Hampshire to Western Connecticut.
“He had one or two days to get ready to go to Vanderbilt,” Ring said. “I know he wanted to be here a lot. It’s very humbling for him to get this honor (of athlete of the year).”
Now Kolwyck will try to rack up honors at Vandy and possibly reach his next dream destination of the Big Leagues.
“He’s basically starting over again,” Ring concluded. “He had to prove himself like he did at Arlington. And I think he did. He’s going to have to do that at Vanderbilt. He’s always enjoyed a challenge. His positive demeanor, character and integrity, whether in athletics or not, he’s going to be successful in whatever he does.”