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Three-sport athletes, coaches prepare for condensed calendar

Kendall Allen competes in three sports at Vacaville Christian. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo
Kendall Allen competes in three sports at Vacaville Christian. Chris Jackson / Staff Photo

A new sports calendar could create hiccups for some, but local Bay Area athletes and coaches are not too concerned about how it will impact their schedules.

With sporting events on hold in most of California – including the Central Coast, North Coast and Sac-Joaquin sections – until late December or early January, that creates a condensed calendar as they look to still fit in all sports during a six-month span in the spring semester. 

So, some multi-sport athletes – particularly those in three or more sports -might have to pick and choose which sports they play this year, or they work with their coaches to figure out a plan so that they can still compete in each of their respective sports.

“We prepared for possibly playing in October,” said Vacaville Christian head football coach Manny Tarango. “We prepared for possibly having to move it back to December and what happens if we go into spring? They’ve decided to go that route and that direction, and we adjust. 

“Our message to our players and our team is to respond. We’ve been focusing on a lot of leadership and character development, and we use the formula of E + R = O. Event + Response = The Outcome. This is just a great teaching moment for us to continue to sell home.”

Adjusting is all they can do, and at Vacaville Christian – a school with an enrollment of 250 at the high school level – Tarango and the other coaches on campus are working together to make sure they do what is in the best interest of the student-athlete.

Four of Tarango’s football players are on the basketball team, and multiple players are baseball starters. That creates some overlapping during each of the seasons – especially in the winter and spring sports, where the majority of those spring sports practice start dates are roughly two weeks apart (sports like basketball, soccer, tennis and wrestling are separated by just 14 days from baseball, softball and swimming in the SJS).

Could that mean load managing?

“We might see a new era in high school sports where you’re going to have to, ‘Hey you might come to football practice Monday, Tuesday. I might have to limit your reps or your live reps because you’ve got to go to basketball on Wednesday and maybe play in a game on Thursday but then get back to practice for some walkthrough stuff on Thursday to get ready to go Friday night and then turn around and go on a road trip for a basketball tournament on Saturday,’” Tarango said.

“And that’s just the world we live in. We’ll just have to be very cognizant of how our athletes’ bodies are responding and what it’s doing to them psychologically, and we’ll adjust.”

Numerous athletes are looking into what they will do, but luckily there is still a few months for them to make decisions and concoct the best possible plan.

One Madison Park Academy athlete, Trylyon Love, has an idea of what she wants to do. Love is a two-time volleyball captain, an Offensive MVP in girls basketball and someone who has also competed in softball and track.

“I didn’t do softball my junior year, and my senior year I’m planning on doing volleyball and basketball because I heard that the winter sports are going to get pushed into the spring, so that means that we have to pick between sports,” Love said. “So since I ran track for two years and I only played basketball for one year, I’m going to go and do basketball.”

Dymonne Rhodes is part of four teams at Madison Park Academy. Photo courtesy of Dion Evans / MPA

A fellow Madison Park Academy standout, Dymonne Rhodes, is still one of the top returning athletes in Oakland and is still working through the decision-making process. Along with coming in third place in the 40–meter dash at the Oakland Athletic League finals in 2019, she is part of the basketball, softball and volleyball teams at MPA.

“I’m still trying to figure out how our school year is going to go because they’re splitting up the sports,” Rhodes said. “They changed the date when we will start our season, so I’m trying to figure out which one I think would be best for me because two of the sports that I play their season is going to go at the same time, and I don’t think I’ll have time to do both, so I’m still trying to figure out the schedules and stuff before.”

Meanwhile, one of Tarango’s players, Kendall Allen, is another sensational multi-sport athlete. In addition to being a star on the football field – he recorded 994 receiving yards and 40 tackles last year – he is also tabbed as one of the top basketball players on the west coast and is a Junior Olympian.

Allen is in a similar realm as Rhodes and said he is still working through the process to decide what he will do.

“I have no idea as of now,” Allen said. “I’ve been talking it over with my parents, but as of right now I’m going to try and play all three sports.”

At Bishop O’Dowd, first-year head coach David Perry is all for doing whatever is in the best interest of the players he coaches. He understands how much time is invested into each sport and how the body and mind need breaks sometimes.

When he was a receivers coach under John Beam at Laney College, he made sure to create some hard and light days with the footwork and slamming the foot over and over again into the grass.

Perry, like Tarango, supports load managing.

“There’s a lot of people that kind of look down on load management and stuff like that,” Perry said. “I’ve coached track and I think it’s super important. I’ve coached track for six years. I’ve coached football since 2001, and I’ve always thought that was super important.”

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