“I went to a mountain bike race in the morning, I left as soon as I was finished, slept in the car, and then had to go to a track meet at 9 p.m.. So that was a little hectic,” said Berkeley High School sophomore Carina Nottingham. Last spring, Nottingham participated in both the school mountain biking team and track team. She is one of the many multi-sport athletes at BHS who manage a packed schedule in order to play the sports they want to.
For some athletes, such as BHS senior Will Polishuk, this means back to back workouts some days. Especially during basketball season, when he has baseball practice during many of the days that he also practices for basketball.
In addition to the difficulty of doing both, sometimes the challenge is deciding which sport to prioritize. “Sometimes there are both things going on, and you can’t be in two places at one time,” said Polishuk.
For other athletes, like sophomore Camille Cunningham, this means choosing one sport over the other. Last year, Cunningham decided to leave the BHS crew team after joining a climbing team. Crew was a time demanding sport with practices five days a week, leaving little time for climbing especially when she joined the team and started going to more practices.
Cunningham’s passion for one sport made it worth the loss of the other. “I just decided that I wanted to climb. And that was more important to me than crew was,” she said.
In contrast, Polishuk’s enjoyment of both sports was what made doing both worth it. “It is difficult, but I like doing it so much that I don’t find it hard to do,” said Polishuk.
Polishuk decided to stick with just one sport for college, and is committed to play baseball for Pomona-Pitzer. Much of his decision was based on the future and the opportunities each sport would give him. “I have definitely prioritized baseball. I’ve always played both, and I’ve always loved both. But baseball is the one I was better at and I knew I wanted to pursue in college,” he said.
According to BHS senior Marlow Buettner, who plays both baseball and soccer, playing multiple sports has helped him improve his athletic skills. There are many ways that cross training can help advance skills in both sports, and help athletes learn new techniques that can be applied in many situations. “I think playing just one [sport] can take away from using your athleticism,” he said.
Polishuk has also found that having complimentary sports makes doing both easier and can be beneficial. “In terms of athletic performance… baseball helps basketball and basketball helps baseball,” he said.
Nottingham agreed, saying, “Biking is a great way to keep my cardio up for running, but still have a lower impact sport, where I feel less likely to get overuse injuries, even though mountain biking does have its own injury risks.”
Despite the social challenges that come along with a restrictive schedule, Polishuk found being a part of two teams to be a highlight for him. “Playing on both teams is definitely the most fun I’ve had in high school,” he said.
Multi-sport athletes face many obstacles trying to juggle schedules, multiple workouts, and academics, but Polishuk has no regrets about the sports he played at BHS. “I think I would have more regret if I had chosen one (sport),” he said.