As the years go by, athletes becoming bigger, better and stronger. They have also become more focused, often choosing to hone their skills in just one or two sports, rather than spread themselves out across a few sports.
Therefore, three sport athletes are becoming as rare as they’ve ever been. But as the graduating class of 2013 leaves Monticello High School, they take with them five three-sport athletes.
Lisa Nygaard, Sam Petterson, Hayden Laimer, Paul Fair and Jack Fair were all honored at the Senior Awards Presentations Thursday night for their participation, and accomplishments, in three different varsity sports.
Some of their memories from their jam-packed high school activities schedules are shared, some are their own. Almost all are positive.
“Sports are my favorite part about high school,” said Nygaard. “That’s the part I’m going to miss the most, being on a team or participating.”
Nygaard was a three-sport captain, an extremely rare accomplishment. She bounced back from injury to captain cross country, gymnastics and track and field this year, while balancing a 4.0 GPA.
Sam Petterson carried a 3.97 GPA through high school while playing volleyball, gymnastics and track and field. Petterson was a gymnastics captain, as well as a captain and an All-Conference performer in track and field.
Laimer excelled in football, basketball and baseball. He was named All-Conference and Academic All-Conference in each of the three sports, as well as being a captain in basketball and baseball, and the Mississippi 8 Offensive Player of the Year in baseball.
Paul Fair finished his career as an All-Conference football player, Academic All-Conference in tennis, and as an astounding 12-time State Champion in swimming.
Jack Fair maintained a 3.93 GPA throughout high school while standing out in football, swimming and tennis. He was All-Conference in all three sports, including five times in swimming and two times in tennis. He was also a two-sport captain, with six swimming State Championships.
Yet, for all of their accomplishments, it’s the memories, not the numbers, that seem to stick with the athletes.
“The fans, the crowds cheering at the big games,” said Jack Fair, talking about what he’ll remember the most. “I thought that was pretty special.”
They admit that playing three sports can be draining, especially as each and every sport grows toward being a year-round affair. Yet, none of them would have it any other way.
“There have definitely been times where it gets to feel like a lot,” said Petterson. “But you know if you didn’t have the sport you’d miss it.”
“You always think about ‘oh playing two would be a lot easier,’ you could focus more, train more,” he said. “But I can’t imagine not playing one of them.”
The sports have also given back to the athletes, including payment in the form of life lessons.
“It helps you with the ups and downs,” said Laimer. “It helps you get ready for life, that everything is not just going to be perfect.”
Sports also aided with time management, and learning to perform well under pressure, according to Jack Fair.
But at their most simple, and yet at their best. Sports were fun. Sports were a way to exercise. A way to hang out with friends. A way to succeed. For these five, in high school, sports were a way of life.
“I can’t remember high school without sports,” said Paul Fair. “It would be a completely different experience.”
Contact Clay Sawatzke at [email protected]