Profile: Challenges of Being a 3-Sport Athlete

Taelynn Benish

Taelynn Benish is a junior at LHS who is one of many 3-sport athletes. She plays soccer, swim, and softball. She is President of Berry Buddies and in other clubs, including Pep Club, Student Council, FCA, Travel Club, and National Honor Society.

What sports do you play and why do you play them?

I’m in soccer, swimming, and softball. I play sports to keep me active.

What is your most memorable moment in any or all?

The most memorable moment was swim sectionals this year. Our girls team was doing so well, and we made Coach Shannon cry. I thought it was funny, but he was proud of our accomplishment and all the time we were dropping in our events.

Out of all the sports you play, which one is your favorite?

Swim would definitely be my favorite. The atmosphere of the sport, teammates, coaches, is just amazing. The positivity and support you have from the team is something I’ve never had from any other sport I have participated in.

Is it difficult to keep up with all of the sports?

Definitely, because I’m always training for a sport. During the year, I maybe have 1-2 weeks where I am not doing anything. Time management is very important. School comes before sports. If you have homework, you best be getting it done during any free time at school.

Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of sports?

I enjoy hanging out with my friends, going to the gym, going out to eat, and late night car rides blasting music.

Is there a coach or athlete that you look up to as a role model?

Yes, my swim coach, Coach Shannon. He is my biggest cheerleader. He is always so positive, supportive, and has very high expectations for me. I have never really had a coach that will have conversations with me to tell me what I am capable of. When I’m upset about a bad race, he always lets me know that he is proud of me no matter what as long as I put my best effort into my race. He always has the biggest goals for me and pushes me during practice to get better. Mike has been my coach for 2 years now, and he has made swim 10 times better.

7. What strengths do you believe you have that makes you a better athlete or teammate?

I believe that I can make hard times fun, with a joke or just lighting the mood at practice. I’m also a very versatile athlete when it comes to swimming. For example, during swimming if the coach needs an event, he can count on me to fill that spot, and I can most likely be top 3 in that race.

8. What is/was your greatest accomplishment as an athlete?

My greatest achievement was placing top 8 in all my events at NCC this year. There are always over 20 swimmers in each event. Going from not placing top 8 for my freshman and sophomore year to placing top 8 this year, I was just proud of myself because I accomplished a big goal of mine.

9. What advice for under-classmen or to people doing/wanting/trying to be a 3-sport athlete?

Try everything. Go to workouts. Try the sports. If you don’t enjoy it, you don’t have to come back, but it is important to try what you want while you have time in high school. Get involved in clubs, sports, you will make many friends and make amazing memories.

10. What sacrifice do you make as a multi-sport athlete/3-sport athlete?

The fact that I’m hardly home, never being able to eat dinner with my family because I’m either at a game/meet/practice, and I don’t get home till super late. I also don’t have much free time.

Caleb Crook

Caleb Crook is a senior at LHS who is another 3-sport athlete. He does tennis, basketball, and baseball. He is starting to do golf. Besides sports, he is in many clubs, including President of Key Club, Student Council, National Honor Society, Pep Club, and Travel Club.

What sports do you play and why do you play them?

Starting as a freshman and continuing to my senior year, I played tennis, basketball, and baseball. During the pandemic, I learned that I really enjoy playing golf. Because of that, I added golf during my senior year. I play sports because of the competition in an athletic setting. Nothing feels better than coming out on top of an event with your sports, family, and friends.

What is your most memorable moment in any or all the sports you play?

My most memorable moment came this fall during tennis sectionals. I was a doubles parnter with a longtime friend, Gavin Smith. We upset our rivals, who we had never beaten before, to help secure the tennis sectional championship. It just felt like the perfect ending to our tennis career

Out of the sports you play, which one is your favorite?

This is really tough question because I enjoy ever sport I participate in and every one of them has a unique vibe during the season that always has me looking forward to the next season. Tennis has been special because we have been competitive every year on the tennis courts and Mr. Tompson and Mr. Looker always bring a great environment to the program. Basketball, however, has always been my favorite sport because of all the extra effort I have put into it from basketball at the YMCA to summer AAU ball and everything in between.

Is it difficult to keep up with all of them?

Sometimes it can be a little difficult, but it has helped me with time management. The pros of being in sports greatly outweigh the cons. I have been able to meet tons of great people, and I think it just prepared me for life outside of sports.

Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of sports?

My favorite hobby outside of sports is wakeboarding, tubing, and wake surfing behind our boat. It is great to just hang out with friends at the lake.

Is there a coach or athlete that you look up to as a role model and why?

There have been many coach, individuals, and mentors that have helped me over the years. Coaches have stayed late or come in early to help me develop in each sport. Individuals have talked with me help me understand the mental aspects or stood behind me when things were tough. There have also been fans who have encouraged me over the years. I am thankful to all of these individuals.

What strengths do you believe you have that make you a better athlete and why?

I try to work hard every day that I am in practice and games. I also try to listen to my coaches and learn from them to be better tomorrow than I am today.

What is your greatest accomplishment as an athlete?

My greatest accomplishment is receiving the Defensive MVP Award for varsity basketball two years in a row. Defense doesn’t show up in a lot of statistics, and many times it often gets overlooked. However, I set my mind to be one of the best defensive players during high school, and I was able to attain that goal.

What do you have to do to change conditioning for different sports?

Tennis conditioning is more of quick movements and footwork conditioning that translates onto the court. Most of the time, fatigue sets in due to the heat in tennis. For basketball, it’s a completely different story. You have to do sprints and longer runs to prepare yourself for a stretch of the game that may be up and down the court several times, quickly. As a pitcher in baseball, it is more about strengthening the arm to be ready to throw 65-80 pitches comfortably.

What sacrifices do you make to be a multi-sport athlete/3-sport athlete?

I don’t feel like I have sacrificed anything to play sports because I want to be there every day. I would say it has been more of a family sacrifice. However, when we are all together at sporting events, it makes it worth it.