Athletes do double duty

Students playing two sports face rewards, challenges

By COLLEEN PEGHER
Sports Editor
[email protected]

Last year, Becca Crissman, ’12, suffered the pain of defeat in the playoffs, not once, but twice.

Crissman is one of six two-sport athletes at Allegheny, who take on the heavy responsibility that comes with playing two sports.

Freshman Emma Loniewski is on the soccer team with Crissman and is a member of the track and field team in the spring. Originally recruited for soccer, the opportunity of playing two sports here appealed to her.

“I always played two sports in high school so it’s not really any different than anything I’ve done before,” Loniewski said. “I told [soccer coach Mike Webber] I ran track and when he asked me about it I said that I’d always run track and that I’d love to run here.”

Sophomores Sean Danaher and Zach Hill also opted to add track and field to basketball and football respectively.

Danaher was recruited to play basketball and began throwing for the Gators after talking to track and field coach Brent Wilkerson.

“Since I’m a thrower on the track team, I lift heavily a lot which helps me on the basketball court because I’m a post player so I need to be strong with the basketball,” Danaher said.

Hill also believes that playing two sports is beneficial to his athletic performance.

“Each one helps with the other,” Hill said. “With track I get to work on my speed and endurance and with football I get to work on my strength so each one helps improve the other sport.”

Women’s soccer assistant coach Linda Schirmeister has seen the benefits to her players that participate in two sports.

“Division III has a very short spring season,” Schirmeister said. “For them to be in competition and offered training by other coaches is beneficial for their fitness and helps them in preseason.”

The athletes believe that playing two sports improves their time management.

“I always do better when I have a lot to do because it doesn’t give me time to procrastinate,” said Loniewski. “I always do worse when I have nothing to do and I have a week or two break because I don’t budget my time as well. It’s easy when I have a sport because I know when I have to do everything.”

Despite such benefits to playing two sports, athletes acknowledge the difficulties.

“There has definitely been times when you get back at two in the morning on a Wednesday and you have a test the next day and you think if you just had one season it would be a lot easier,” Crissman said. “But that’s never been an option for me.”

Junior Mick Betler played football and baseball his first two years at Allegheny, but decided to eliminate baseball this season.

“If I wasn’t doing a sport, I’d be doing homework,” Betler said. “I wouldn’t be playing video games or whatever. I still have a 3.8 so it never affected my gradess, but I didn’t have much free time to do anything fun. My life was basically run by school and sports.”

Injuries are also a problem for athletes who play two sports. Crissman suffered a shin injury in 2010 that was a result of overuse.

“I didn’t really take much time off between the fall season and the spring season,” Crissman said. “It’s easier to stay in shape than get back in shape and without the break my injury worsened.”

The challenges that face these two-sport athletes are not enough to discourage them.

“I don’t really see it as there being too many challenges,” said Danaher. “I’m doing what I love.”