Dual-Sport Athletes Make It Work, Playing Two Sports in One Season – ClarkCountyToday.com
Prairie’s Reece Walling is one of many to take advantage of the waiver to allow athletes to play two sports in the same season
Like all high school athletes, Reece Walling from Prairie played the waiting game, hoping to compete.
Fall sports didn’t arrive in time.
The winter season did not start as planned.
The spring schedule was up in the air.
Then there was hope.
An abbreviated fall sports season for Class 4A and 3A schools received the OK.
Soon after, plans for winter and spring sports were announced.
Unfortunately for Walling, winter and spring sports had to be practiced at the same time.
“I was a little devastated,” said Walling, a junior who plays baseball and shines in basketball.
Athletes, after all, were not allowed to play two sports in the same season.
Again, fall and winter sports had never been offered at the same time.
The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association scrambled, making rapid changes to regulations. A waiver was added, allowing simultaneous participation if certain guidelines were met.
And now, Reece Walling is hustling from the baseball field to the basketball court every day.
Walling is one of many high school athletes in Southwest Washington who play a winter sport and a spring sport in the same amount of time. Heritage’s Katie Peneueta is another, excelling in basketball and athletics. A freshman at Battle Ground, Candice Adams, is in college basketball and softball. Too many to list, in fact, if one includes the many dual-sport athletes at the junior varsity and freshman competitive levels.
The key is communication. Athletes and coaches should be on the same page.
“The COVID season has brought its challenges,” said Cameron Chilcote, Prairie’s baseball coach. “One of them that we didn’t really expect to have is athlete sharing. However, I feel like if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to be able to cooperate more. Brooks and I collaborate a lot.
It would be Prairie basketball coach Kyle Brooks who is one of the reasons Walling was crushed when he first learned that the two sports seasons would run concurrently, before knowing that he could play both.
“I love playing for Coach Brooks,” Walling said. “He’s such a good guy.”
Brooks, after all, is making his own triumphant return to the basketball court. Last winter, before COVID and the pandemic were part of our everyday vocabulary, Brooks was struck down with Guillain-Barré syndrome. His immune system was attacking his nervous system.
He was in rehabilitation after a long hospital stay and he was ready to return to coaching duties if and when there was a season this college year.
Walling wanted to be there too. Except he’s a baseball player first. Walling made known his intentions to sign with Washington State Baseball in November.
“I love playing basketball for Coach Brooks, and he’s back this year. I was just hoping I could do both. If I hadn’t been able to, I probably would have played baseball,” said Walling said.
This was only a potential problem for top school athletes. Class 2A and 1A schools in the area are currently practicing spring sports and will soon begin winter sports.
The problem for large schools, however, has been solved. As long as school administration was correct and a plan was in place to ensure an athlete was not overworked, an athlete could try both sports in the same season. (This is only allowed for athletes practicing one winter sport and one spring sport. An athlete cannot practice two winter sports or two spring sports. Also, an athlete can only practice one only contact sport. Basketball is considered a contact sport, but baseball is not. )
“Prairie’s administration is super awesome,” Walling said. “They are open to it. They are so flexible.
Jason Castro, the school’s athletic director, had a meeting with Walling before the seasons started, just to go over the guidelines.
The WIAA waiver includes a stipulation that athletes cannot train or compete for more than 18 hours per week.
For Walling, that means some days he practices for an hour with the baseball team and then an hour with the basketball team.
“I’m just grateful to be here to play both sports,” Walling said.
“I love playing for Coach Brooks. He’s such a great guy,” Walling added.
Although baseball is his top priority, he also enjoys being on the field.
“It’s just an outlet from baseball because I play baseball all year round,” Walling said. “It’s fun to get out there and do something different.”
Brooks said he welcomed this new challenge. During the first week of practice—the tryouts—Brooks and Chilcote figured out that baseball would practice right after school, but boys’ basketball would start in the evening.
“Reece’s personality, he’s so easy going and ready to go that makes him fun,” Brooks said. “He’s into both sports, which is really good.”
Teammates should also get some credit. A basketball practice was moved to 7 p.m. on a day when Walling had a baseball game at 4 p.m. The coaches said their players were understanding. Everyone wants it to work in these unprecedented sports schedules.
“Reece is doing a really good job of communicating with both coaches,” Brooks said. “We haven’t had any problems. Everything went very well. »
Last week, for the first time, matches were scheduled on the same day. Walling had a hit and threw a run, then rushed to the gym to score 13 runs. Prairie won both games that day, meaning Walling went 2-0 that day.
“I thought I was going to do well, but after that basketball game I was really tired,” Walling said. “I was much more tired than I thought.”
But, he added, it is worth it.
As Walling’s baseball coach said, Walling has this season and his last year to play basketball. Walling hopes to play baseball for years after high school.
So, while athletes are in high school, school administrators and coaches are doing what they can to provide the most opportunities for their athletes during pandemic athletic schedules.