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Home Features Dual-Sport Athletes Balance Sports, Academics, and Social Lives

Freshman Mackenzie Koepke, a dual-sport athlete, is a guard on the women’s basketball team and also jumps and sprints on Concordia’s track and field team. Photo by Laura Von Kampen.

by Morgan Consier

While many college students find it hard to balance classes, homework and a social life while playing just one sport or no sport at all, a few Concordia athletes participate in two sports over the course of the school year.

Freshmen Keri Bauer, Claire Cornell and Mackenzie Koepke and sophomore Nicole Daum are all members of both Concordia’s women’s basketball team and the track and field team.

Bauer said that Concordia allowing her to participate in two sports helped her make the decision to come here for college.

“I really enjoyed both sports in high school, and I had success in both, so the opportunity to come and play both of them here as well as get different scholarships for both really helped influence my decision,” Bauer said.

Daum said that being involved with two sports showed her how she and her teammates still have to put in practice on their own to help make their teams the best they can be, whether they are competing as a team or individually.

“There’s so much individual work that goes into it, even into basketball,” Daum said. “We go and shoot by ourselves and lift by ourselves. Even in track it’s very individualized as well. How much you work is what’s going to pay off in a meet.”

This individual practice also helps when Daum and her fellow dual-sport athletes transition from basketball season right into the outdoor track season.

“When we go to track, we only have like four or five weeks to try to do something, whereas most track people have from the beginning of the school year, indoor season and outdoor season,” Daum said. “We don’t have a lot of time to prepare for things like that, so we have to be in shape and ready to go right when track season starts.”

Bauer said that her planner helps her stay on top of two sports seasons as well as classes and homework.

“(F)ocus on the task that’s in front of you, rather than looking like a week far in advance. I guess you need to know what’s upcoming, but just stay on task with the little things,” Bauer said.

For Cornell, knowing that she has multiple things to balance keeps her accountable.

“It keeps me in shape year-round and also kind keeps me more organized knowing I have to balance classes and sports, not to mention the amount of new friends and teammates each year,” Cornell said in an email interview.

One of the drawbacks, however, of fitting more into her schedule is that sometimes she has to make choices about what she devotes her time to.

“I mean you are gone pretty much all weekends and have to sacrifice social life for that, which can be hard at times,” Cornell said. “Between the lifting and game (and) meet schedules, changing that is also an adjustment that has to be made.”

Koepke said that with having so many things going on in her schedule, it is important to keep a positive mindset and build yourself and others up.

“Make sure you always give 100 percent even if you’re not doing good. Like, (if) you have a bad practice, come the next day and forget about it, or if you have a bad game, don’t always think about the negative things, maybe think about some of the few positive things you did,” Koepke said. “If you win, support your teammates. It’s not just about you, it’s about everyone on the team.”

For Bauer, participating in two sports has shown her the importance of appreciating every moment of her college career.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned so far is enjoying all the little moments and not wishing them by, like in school, trying your best in the classroom, and then, when you’re outside of the classroom with relationships or in practice, just working hard and finding joy in the little things,” Bauer said.

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