Published: May 12, 2014
The Pikes Peak region has its share of multidimensional athletes who excel at a variety of sports. Most have the ability to transition from one season to the next, without much of a break between the seasons.
Then there are a select few who find a way to not only play, but excel, at two sports in the same season.
"It definitely requires two flexible coaches," said Air Academy sophomore middle-distance runner and midfielder/forward Katie Rainsberger. "I wouldn't recommend it unless you know you're wholeheartedly committed to both sports."
Rainsberger played in 10 of her team's 14 games in the Kadets' recently completed season, scoring four goals and adding an assist. She also has the second-fastest time among girls' runners in the state in the 1,600 meters at 4 minutes, 56.40 seconds and ranks second in Class 4A in the 800 at 2:14.38.
With Air Academy's season over after Saturday's playoff loss to Evergreen, Rainsberger has half as much on her plate heading into the state track meet, Thursday through Saturday at Jeffco Stadium in Lakewood.
That's not the case for Pine Creek junior Ally Watt.
Watt runs really fast on her track and field team and also uses that speed to find the back of the net for the soccer team.
On the track, Watt has registered the second-fastest time in 5A in the 200 with a time of 24.08 seconds, also hitting the finish line in 11.85 seconds in the 100 (fourth) and 55.60 seconds in the 400 (sixth).
And on the pitch, the speedy forward has scored 13 goals in 11 games, also adding four assists for team highs in goals and points (30). Her talent this season also netted her the honore of 5A Colorado Springs Metro League player of the year.
To coach such an athlete takes a certain level of give and take.
"There's a partnership Katie and I have set forward for her," Kadets soccer coach Nancy Sibley said. "She is the one who has to find that balance, but her track coach (Phil Roiko) and I look at both schedules and see what we can do to have her at her best for both sports."
At some point, both might have to decide on playing only one sport.
Rainsberger, a longtime club soccer player before high school, knows her future won't include a ball. Then again, her mom, Lisa, was a professional runner who won the Boston Marathon in 1985.
"I might have to choose pretty soon if I want to really excel in one," Rainsberger said. "I think my soccer career might be coming to an end. I want to focus on running, and I want to run in college. Running is my passion, but that doesn't mean I don't like soccer."