Varsity athletes choose between sports

Some varsity girls cross country runners are faced with the choice of running track or playing soccer during the spring season


By Hunter Ristau

During the 800 meter dash on Friday, April 5, senior Delaney Kemp competes with her teammate junior Molly Haymaker. Kemp, like other girls varsity athletes at Mill Valley, was forced to choose between soccer and running during her freshman year.

Jakob Twigg, JagWire sports editor

As the spring sports season begins, some varsity girls cross country runners are faced with the choice of running track or playing soccer. For those who have found success in both sports, this choice will define their athletic career for years to come.

For some freshmen, such as Quincy Hubert, the choice is too difficult to make in their first year of high school. Hubert is currently a varsity hurdler and a junior varsity soccer player

“Honestly I couldn’t really choose, I really like to both runtrack and play soccer, and it was really hard to choose, so I just did both,” Hubert said.

A dual sport athlete can bring conflict in their competition schedule, however, head coach Arlan Vomhof says he has worked with athletes to mitigate any conflicts that may occur.

By Marah Shulda

“We try to work with the track coaches, to where [the player will] have to decide what is their number one (sport),” Vomhof said. “[If there is a conflict, they have to decide as a player whether they are going to go to that track meet or play in the soccer game. This is pre-established.”

For other athletes, time management and injury from the stress of two sports plays a large role in their decision in the spring.It was injury, which caused junior Annie Hoog to commit to year-round soccer.

“I would go from cross country practice to soccer practice every day. I would run five miles for cross country practice, and then I would go to soccer practice,” Hoog said. “I overworked my hips and muscles, [to the point where] I ended up not being to run at the state cross country meet [freshman year], and I had to do physical therapy for two months.”

Freshman Katie Schwartzkopf made a similar choice last fall, after much success in cross country and in club soccer.

“At the end of the cross country season, when I was crazy busy with running and soccer, I knew I was going to probably have to make the decision, Schwartzkopf said. “Something about running and just the the atmosphere of cross country, I just love the girls, and I know playing soccer I probably won’t have as much success in that as I would with track.”

Head cross country and track coach Chris McAfee thinks that the choice to run track or play soccer for the school should be the athletes own.

“I try to stay out of [their decision] as best as I can and I just remind them that whatever choice they make will be a good one,” McAfee said. “The soccer team is good; they have great coaches and great people on the team, and I think that the track team has good people on it and great coaches and great culture too. Whatever decision they make is going to be the best decision for them.”

Hoog thinks the decision to play soccer was the right choice for her, as she is currently committed to play at Benedictine College in Atchison, KS.

“It’s a really good choice for me, and I have really excelled with it,” Hoog said. “I feel like I wouldn’t have gone anywhere with cross country or track, I would just do it as a school thing, but with soccer I could go and play it collegiately and keep going on my path.”

According to Vomhof, the final decision should be up to the athlete’s, and not a coach.  

“For me as a coach, if [an athlete’s] love is to go run track, then that’s fine. If [their] heart isn’t in 100% soccer then that’s fine,” Vomhof said. “We’ve had some [players] in the past decide that soccer is their sport and they just don’t do track anymore. I [want] what’s best for the athlete, and I am going to coach whoever I have.”

Likewise, McAfee believes coaches shouldn’t stress students to commit  to one sport over another.

“I feel very passionate about not putting pressure on kids to choose one sport over the other. It is not my life, it is theirs and it is their choice to make,” McAfee “I think whatever choice they make is a good one, [and] I understand that whatever choice they make is stressful.”

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