Allegheny dual-sport athletes juggle athletics, academics

Life can be hectic for athletes who play multiple sports at Allegheny College. Football and track and field star Noah Parker, ’21, concurs, but also emphasized how appreciative he is of the help that is available to him.

“I would argue that it is not that difficult as long as you make use of all the resources that are available to you on campus such as the reading and writing consultants, seeing your professor during office hours, and if you have a TA, visiting them for help,” Parker said. “You really have all the help you need.”

The 6-foot, 260-pound defensive lineman originally did not plan on playing football at the collegiate level, as he was recruited to be a part of the track and field team as a thrower. However, after speaking with the head football coach at the time, B.J. Hammer, he decided that he wanted to pursue a football career in college as well.

“I realized that I wanted to play football too because in high school I had played football as well as indoor and outdoor track and field,” Parker said. “I figured that it would always help me to maintain the balance between that and my other commitments, so, in my experience, playing multiple sports definitely helps you stay on top of things.”

Now comfortable with all of the rigors that come with the combination of two sports and keeping on pace with his academics, Parker has his personal goals set for his upcoming seasons.

“For football, I just want to do the best I can for my team and hopefully help us win more games and do whatever it takes to help make us a better team,” Parker said. “For track, I want to achieve All-Conference honors this season in at least one event and continue to get better each and every day.”

I always figured that it would help me to maintain the balance between that and my other commitments, so, in my experience, playing multiple sports definitely helps you stay on top of things.”

— Noah Parker, Class of 2021

Being a multi-sport athlete at Allegheny can also come at a cost and can make a student-athlete’s everyday life a lot different than most other students.

For sophomore Shannon Relihan, balancing her priorities playing basketball as well as track and field isn’t the most difficult thing. She did, however, admit it sometimes can lead to her not seeing certain friends as much others.

“Honestly it’s hard because I have different friend groups in both sports. During the basketball season, my core group of friends are on the basketball team, then getting into track season, I have best friends on the track team, so depending on the season I don’t really see the other team as much, which is kind of hard,” Relihan said.

Relihan expressed how she did not plan on participating in multiple sports at Allegheny, as she originally committed to play basketball. After arriving on campus, she was contacted by one of the track and field coaches regarding her possibly joining the team after her first semester.

At first, she did not want to have another sport to worry about and she politely declined the offer. However, after much thought, she decided that joining the team was worth a shot.

Relihan was adamant that she loves playing two sports in college, and that it is definitely worth all of the hard work.

“I definitely get stressed at times, but I think I try to manage my time well, but there are a lot of nights I have to stay up super late finishing up homework,” Relihan said. “Playing two sports definitely does help me to avoid procrastinating. My goal for this semester is to not procrastinate.”

Time management is undoubtedly crucial in being able to balance academics and athletics at the collegiate level. Being able to manage your time well can lead to success on and off the field.

Soccer and basketball player Alex Klare, ’22, emphasized the importance of getting ahead on her work and always being on top of her academics.

“It can be hard to balance both sports and academics at the same time, so the most important thing is to always be on top of my work and avoid procrastinating,” Klare said. “All of the hard work is definitely worth it in the end.”