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Two Sports, One Season

A+state+qualifying+medal+earned+by+placing+in+the+top+3+at+sectionals.+This+represents+a+year+of+hard+work+for+some+athletes.
A state qualifying medal earned by placing in the top 3 at sectionals. This represents a year of hard work for some athletes.

A state qualifying medal earned by placing in the top 3 at sectionals. This represents a year of hard work for some athletes.

A state qualifying medal earned by placing in the top 3 at sectionals. This represents a year of hard work for some athletes.

Mason Prunick, Writer

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Multi-sport athletes, every school has them. Typically these athletes are core elements to their teams, since it takes a high level of commitment, effort, leadership, pride, and respect to participate and compete in more than one sport. Normally these athletes compete in either three sports, one in Fall, one in Winter, and one in Spring, or if they are just in two sports they can be in a variation of the three. These athletes are becoming more and more uncommon, as student-athletes are becoming specialized. This means they focus on one sport year-round, in order to become the best they can in that one specific sport. Personally, I as an individual have always been a multi-sport athlete. For the majority of my life, I played football in the fall and in spring turned to baseball. This year it was a little different. I still played football in fall and I am currently nearing the end of my last year of high school baseball. However, I also participated in track and field, which just so happens to fall in the same season as baseball. So instead of being a three sport athlete in three seasons, I am a three sport athlete in two.

Doing two sports in a single season is very rare for an individual to do and is often not able to be done, due to conflicting schedules and/or coaches discretion. Since I was a freshman  I was told I should do track, but always played baseball instead. This being my last year of high school I decided to do both while I still had the chance. Oddly enough, I was not alone in this venture, fellow classmate, teammate, and good friend Senior Jacob Rice also decided to do the same two sports. Going in we both knew who we were as athletes and what sport we would worry about more, since conflicts were inevitable. “Baseball first” was the mentality. Luckily enough we were guaranteed three weeks of conflict-free track due to the indoor track season starting in in early March and baseball starting in late March. After these few weeks we knew it would be difficult. Perhaps the hardest part of this whole experience was getting the coaches of the two sports to agree to us doing both. Our track coaches knew that we were baseball players first and for the most part accepted that we would miss a meet or practice to go to baseball from time to time.

However, convincing our baseball coach was not as easy. Being a first-year coach we put him in a tough situation and I would like to take this time to graciously thank him for reluctantly allowing us to do both. He could have easily said “no” and that would have been the end of it, but instead, he put his trust and faith into us and we truly appreciate him for doing so. Thank you, Coach Loomans, as well as the rest of our coaches, parents, friends, and everyone else who made this all possible.

With the coaches on board it became our job  to manage both schedules in the best way possible. This was easy at first since track was right after school from 3:30-5:30 and baseball was from 6:00-9:00. While this made for a long night, it was perfect since it allowed us to do both. However, this was also the hardest part of the experience. Long days at school, two practices, and then homework at night puts a unique physical and mental distress on the body. Ultimately it became a mental game. Understanding we were doing things for a reason and looking forward to the little things at practice were the best way to cope with it all. Once indoor season was over and baseball practice moved outside, conflicts started to occur. Game days conflicted with meet days and practice times became identical. So we went to baseball more and more, but managed to get to track whenever we had the time. While there were more conflicts, managing both schedules became easier since it was baseball first. This meant we would miss track meets, but would not miss baseball games. Notably missing both indoor and outdoor conference meets to play a game. This is was not necessarily a bad thing, it just was a circumstance we learned to deal with. There were only two circumstance in which baseball did not come first. These were days with track meets that corresponded to baseball practice and track sectionals unfortunately falling on a rain make up day for our last conference game. While missing practice can be hard, the fact we almost made it the whole year without missing a single game impressed us.

Overall the experience has been an enjoyable one. I have been able to participate and succeed in a sport I have always wanted to try, without giving up the sport I have played since I was a kid. While it was not always the easiest, it made the experience more memorable. Along with these memories came, new friends and bonds with people I would not have met otherwise. Both sports allowed me to stay busy and in the last few month up until I graduate and can no longer compete in these sports. It only makes me wish I did both all four years, but that being said it would not have been the same. To those who want or wish to play two sports in the same season I would not recommend it until you have shown you can compete in one main sport first, whatever the sport may be. I would also not recommend this to any person who is not a senior, because it takes time to understand what you as an individual are capable of doing and handling as an athlete. It would not be fair to quit halfway through the season if you can not handle them both. All that being said, it’s is up to you to decide what you can do, just don’t take it lightly and be sure to weigh all your options before you do.

A state qualifying medal earned by placing in the top 3 at sectionals. This represents a year of hard work for some athletes.

Moving past that I would be remiss to not talk about how each season has gone for each sport respectively. Starting with track, we have found success as individuals and as a team. During Indoor season, Rice set the school indoor record for the 55m dash. Also our 4x160m relay team made up of Rice, Jacob Case, Phillip Clavelle Jr, and myself, broke the school indoor record. Moving to outdoor season, we have continued to improve and improve every time we run. With each meet we added some hardware and experience to better ourselves to when regionals came around. At regionals, Rice and I made it to the finals in the 100m dash with Rice moving on to sectionals. Our 4×100 team would best our PR and place first at our regional, advancing us to sectionals. At sectionals Rice would come in second in the 100m dash, punching his ticket to state. Our 4×100 team would follow suit with a third place finish and a new PR, punching our ticket to state as well. Next stop will be the state meet held on June 2 and 3 at UW-LaCrosse. This has what we have worked for all season and will cap off our first and only year of the high school track experience.  

In baseball, the story has been a little different. This year there has been a large learning curve over the course of the season. While we have improved over the course of the season, we have not been able to consistently compete in games. While the end result of games has not been favorable, baseball is still a sport that we have enjoyed since we were little kids. Even in a rough season, you can still find joy in the little everyday things. This is largely due to the bonds made throughout our years of playing with a group of guys who know how to make each day enjoyable. High school baseball is almost over and with the our regional game today, May 30, we will find out if it will be our last, or if we will move on to play another day.

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Two Sports, One Season