Overachieving Athletes: Athletes Who Play Multiple Sports

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The Star-News Athletes of the Year are Rio Hondo Prep's Tiffany Horton, left, and South Pasadena High's Steven Colliau pictured in the South Pas High gym June 17, 2009. (SGVN/Staff photo by Leo Jarzomb/SPORTS)

Morgan Golliver, Sports Editor

At Utica College, more and more athletes on campus are trying out for multiple sports.

But at the same time participating in multiple sports can help athletes stay active, it can also cause them tremendous amounts of stress in trying to manage their academic and athletic responsibilities.

For junior Ricki Haab, transitioning from field hockey in the fall to ice hockey in the winter gets extremely hectic this time of year because the two sports’ schedules interfere with each other.

“During the month of October for about 2-3 weeks, the two sports overlap seasons,” Haab said. “I am still in field hockey season, but ice hockey officially started, too. I try my hardest to make both sports work, but more often than not, the practice times interfere.”

Haab said the hardest part about playing two mentally and physically challenging sports is managing her time.

It’s really hard,” Haab said. “I have always said that I like being a student-athlete because the busier you are the more you prioritize your time and take care of your responsibilities.”

Although Haab credits being a multi-sport athlete as a reason to stay at the top of her game all the time, it’s not always possible.

“There is sometimes a point when it gets to be too much, like when you’re playing two sports at once,” Haab said. “I just try to remain focused and work really hard, maybe my sleep suffers a bit, but it’s not for too long. If it ever gets to the point where I really simply can’t make a practice because I am swamped with homework, my coach will understand.”

Senior Nicole Herringshaw is a three-sport athlete at Utica College. She plays volleyball in the fall, women’s basketball in the winter and throws javelin for the track and field team in the spring. In the midst of playing sports, Nicole is also pursuing a degree in physical therapy with a minor in psychology.

Currently, Nicole is in her fourth season with the UC volleyball team. As a middle hitter, she has 156 kills and 427 total attacks in 59 sets played.

Herringshaw started playing volleyball during her senior year of high school in Cicero after she suffered from stress fractures in her hips that prevented her from playing soccer. Prior to making the switch, she was recruited by the volleyball coach due to her 6-foot-2-inch stature.

“I finally agreed to play volleyball because I was so used to playing sports all the time that I couldn’t see myself not doing something during the fall,” Herringshaw said.

Similar to the field hockey and ice hockey seasons, volleyball and basketball overlap each other. Herringshaw runs into a problem when volleyball is still in season while basketball tryouts are starting up.

“Before that time comes up, I try to get as much work as I can done,” Herringshaw said. “I have a planner and reminders on my phone. I take naps because if I’m exhausted I know I won’t get things done.”

While managing her time, Herringshaw said the hardest part of playing three sports is trying to bond with teammates on one team while another sport’s season is beginning at the same time.

“For basketball, the team has already met the new freshmen, and I haven’t met them yet,” Herringshaw said. “It kind of stinks because I won’t be able to know any of their names until tryouts, and by then, the girls have already met each other and already know how each other plays.”

Herringshaw’s basketball teammate, Brigid Johndrow, plays softball after their season is over.

For Johndrow, the transition from basketball to softball makes things very busy.

“The work overload is worse because the schedules of both sports change and are very inconsistent,” Johndrow said. “For basketball, I know when all my games and practices are, but for softball, everything just changes and there are five-hour days because we play double-headers.”

Keanu Heedram is a two-sport athlete who competes in both football and track.

When Heedram graduates next year, he will look back on both sports with adoration.

“One of the main reasons I came here was because I had the ability to play both sports,” Heedram said. “I have a lot of fun in both sports. I love being competitive and love winning. The best thing for me to look back on will be just being able to achieve certain goals that I set for myself and leaving my name here at Utica College somehow.”

 


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