‘Extraordinary’—Three athletes, two sports, one trimester

At Colorado Academy we support and encourage student-athletes to dive into a variety of academic, artistic, and athletic endeavors. In the Athletics Department, we celebrate those student-athletes who compete in more than one sport at CA. We recently have had some great ones. Marin McCoy ‘15 (volleyball, basketball, and lacrosse) and Winston Palmeri ‘16 (soccer, basketball, and lacrosse) come immediately to mind.

To have the ability to navigate the academic and extracurricular activities at CA and play three sports is impressive, but to play two sports in one trimester is extraordinary. This year, we had three student-athletes playing two sports in one trimester: Junior Hagen Hall, Sophomore Evan Fenley, and Freshman Grady Behrhorst. All three of these boys play ice hockey at CA for Head Coach Nathan Oystrick. Hall and Fenley also compete for Head Coach Alex Penny in climbing and Behrhorst plays basketball for a team coached by Assistant Athletic Director Jon Hill.

Fenley also plays soccer for CA in the fall, making him a three-sport athlete. Hall plays tennis in the fall, so he is also a three-sport athlete. Behrhorst also plays soccer and lacrosse, making him a four-sport athlete.

Grady Behrhorst (on left) with his brother Mac, who is a junior
Grady Behrhorst (on left) with his brother Mac, who is a junior

It started with ice hockey

Hall, Fenley, and Behrhorst came to me separately and asked about the possibility of competing in two sports simultaneously. Because the majority of ice hockey practices are in the morning before classes and climbing and basketball practices are after school, the idea was feasible. I spoke with all of the boys’ parents and their respective coaches, and everybody was on board. “Let’s give it a go,” was my response, but I added, “If there are complications surrounding the academic workload, the boys’ physical or mental health, or their commitment to their teams, we would potentially have to revisit and cut back on one sport or the other.”

“Playing two sports was a fun challenge because it took discipline to make 6:00 a.m. hockey practices and afternoon climbing practices,” says Fenley. “The dedicated hockey fan base at CA made the extra work rewarding.”

Fenley’s attitude is indicative of many CA student-athletes who want to challenge themselves by getting involved with an athletic team, regardless of the time pinch it may present, because competing provides a healthy option to fill vacant time. When student athletes have structured responsibilities and dedicated time commitments, there is often a positive reflection in their academic work.

A two-sport trimester would not have been possible without the support of Oystrick, who was completely open to having players divide their time between two sports. “Having all three of these young men was an absolute pleasure, and I think they handled playing multiple sports with ease,” he says. “Not only did they all play great for our team, they did so while playing another sport and having to navigate their school curriculum.”

Hall probably had the most hockey experience of the three and was great for us throughout the entire season, scoring big goals and setting up his teammates for assists. Fenley was one of our best penalty killers and was part of the second power play group. Behrhorst got better and better as the year went on and was one of our hardest working players. He did a great job on defense and played a big role on our penalty kill.

When Hill asked Behrhorst about which basketball C team that he would like to play on, he said “I just want to play.” He suited up for both the C-red and C-white teams. “It takes a special, self-motivated, and dedicated student-athlete to play and compete at a high level in two physically demanding sports during the same season,” says Hill. “Initially, I was hesitant, but Grady pulled it off, and he did it well!”

“It’s totally worth it, but you can’t procrastinate when you have any free time,” Behrhorst says. “You need to get your homework done and go to bed early.” I love the candor from the freshman!

At CA, we are all here to help children navigate the tumultuous adolescent and young adult years. I’m not here to make that journey smooth, but to support when the inevitable loss occurs. I am thankful for these boys’ desire, passion, and focus. Moving forward, I am hopeful more CA students will take positive advantage of the competitive opportunities that are presented to them at CA. It’s certainly not easy, but definitely worthwhile. Here’s to a great spring with a lot of CA success. Please check the school website for an upcoming game and come support a Mustang team!