Two-Sport Athletes at Beloit College
Being a college athlete is not an easy thing to achieve. A very low percentage of high school athletes go on to play in college. I’m sure that number is even lower for athletes who go to college to play two sports. Playing one is hard enough, how about another?
That is what Briana Arteaga’24, AJ Fitzpatrick’24 and Brandon Joly’23 do. They play two sports here at Beloit College. Arteaga plays soccer and softball, Fitzpatrick does football and baseball and Joly plays soccer and track.
One of the first things that comes to mind when discussing athletics is the wear and tear on the body. One sport is hard enough, imagine two. Fitzpatrick wrote in an email interview “it is pretty rigorous on the body because you don’t get the chance to ever really rest and let your body be in ‘off-season mode’.” He went on to say that baseball causes more wear and tear on the shoulders where football is a full body wear and tear.
Arteaga wrote to the Round Table in an email interview that “there is not a practice where I go home and my body is not aching or just exhausted!” She said how being a goalkeeper means she has to throw her body in the air and land on the ground causing that overall pain Fitzpatrick was talking about with football. Echoing him in the same sense, softball has so much arm and shoulder wear and tear throughout the season.
Training and practicing for two different sports can be challenging. But at the end of the day, all sports require the same basic elements: strength and explosiveness. “I think that strength training is important to both and you can really train your body to just be explosive and strong and it plays a role in both sports,” wrote Fitzpatrick.
Joly wrote in an email interview that “training year-round is difficult…Soccer and track are unique because they both need speed, endurance, and strength to compete. Therefore, the lifting and conditioning necessary varies but helps for both sports such as squats, hill sprints, etc.” Kind of reiterating the fact that speed and strength are essential components to whatever sport you are playing.
How would one go about playing two sports? Joly started his journey early, after his sophomore year of high school. He decided then that he wanted to play both soccer and track in college. Joly wrote “one of the first coaches to reach out was Beloit Men’s Soccer Coach Duncan Gillis. Conversations were had most of my Junior year about what sport or sports to do in college. After a successful Junior year of track I decided that both sports would be on the table.” After a visit to Beloit Coach Gillis made sure Joly talked to track coach, Coach Bliese. After that he was offered a spot on both rosters.
Arteaga had a similar, but slightly different route. She was initially recruited for soccer; but when she told Coach McKee that she played softball she wrote “he got me in contact with Coach Zarling (I ended up having to try out for softball one of my first weeks on campus and made it).” After her visit where she met both coaches, teams, and current players, she said how great of an experience that was. Audrey Ketterer’23 (soccer) and Cora-Jane Aubert’23 (softball), especially made her feel welcomed.
Arteaga continued to say “the recruiting process as a whole is so stressful. You’re basically selling yourself to multiple coaches at a time… I think that the hardest part about it all is making sure you’re going to the right place and I definitely think I chose the right place.”
Each athlete had their own reasons why they chose Beloit. For example, Beloit was one of the few or only schools that offered them to play multiple sports, while feeling like it was the right place for them. Outside of athletics, all three athletes noted how Beloit felt like home and that their decision was not purely athletic.