Year-Round Athletes

Cross Country is a fall sport that begins training mid-June. During the 2017-2018 season, the girls team qualified to run in states.  (Photo used by permission of  Jeff Sides)Cross Country is a fall sport that begins training mid-June. During the 2017-2018 season, the girls team qualified to run in states. (Photo used by permission of Jeff Sides)

School. Practice. Shower. Eat. Homework. Sleep. Repeat. This is what a typical day looks like for a year-round student athlete. Leesville is home to quite a few year-round student athletes; these are students who participate in a sport the entire duration of a school year. Rain or shine, heat or sleet, these athletes are constantly training.

Comesky competed in the NCHSAA 4A Mideast regional meet. She helped her team qualify for States by running a strong race. Photo used by permission of Dan Loughlin.

Comeskey competed in the NCHSAA 4A Mideast regional meet. She helped her team qualify for States by running a strong race. Photo used by permission of Dan Loughlin.

“We start training for cross country during the last week of June, and then it doesn’t stop until the following June,” said Hannah Comeskey, a LRHS junior and runner. Comeskey has been running for four years and participates in cross-country, indoor track, and outdoor track. The days are filled with school and grueling practices: “I’m in a constant state of [muscle] soreness, being in season all the time,” said Comeskey.

The hardest part for student athletes is balancing school and athletics. Unlike one-season student-athletes where there is a break to relax and catch up on work, year-round athletes never get such a thing. “It’s hard to balance school and athletics, but it’s nice to have Smart-Lunch to complete homework. Really take advantage of time management, and have good planning skills. You definitely can’t procrastinate, you have to be focused,” said Comeskey.

Grace Newton, junior, has been on the varsity team for three years and won states for 200 free-style relay.

Grace Newton, junior, has been on the varsity team for three years. Last year she was on the relay team that won states for 200 free-style. Photo used by permission of Grace Newton.

While Grace Newton, an LRHS junior and year-round swimmer said, “I have a certain schedule that I stick to, a schedule really helps, but it’s definitely time consuming, and I have to be really good with time management.”

Being ‘in-season’ all the time can also affect your social life; with practice everyday after school, and games/meets on the weekend, free time to hang out with friends is scarce. “I never really get a break, and so my social life is impacted by that a lot. I am constantly busy with swim,” said Grace Newton.

Newton has been swimming for over 10 years, including 8 years on a competitive year-round team. “So I started swimming just on my summer team when I was 6, and I was really competitive and wanted to beat my friends so I joined year-round swimming. And then once I got into it, I realized I liked it a lot more than I thought and stuck with it,” said Newton.

The biggest plus to playing a sport year-round? The special bonds formed with teammates. “My teammates are the people I have known since I was 8 years old, they’ve been my best friends, and you really get to know them since you’re with them all the time,” said Newton.  While Comeskey said, “Teammates become your really close friends, you become best friends with each other because you spend so much time together during practice. At this point, practice feels like I’m hanging out with friends.”

Coming up with one now

Comeskey (second to left) poses for a picture with her teammates after a great meet. Photo used by permission of Hannah Comeskey.

Another positive to doing a sport year-round is the overall team feel. Since the group of athletes spend so much practicing and competing together, a supportive and fun environment is cultivated. “I really like the atmosphere of my sport, the team aspect of it is really great and I really like having practice at the end of my day. It’s a time to get a good workout in and hang out with my teammates,” said Comeskey.

Overall, being a year-round athlete has many positives and hardships. However, the relationships and love for the sport make the commitment worth it. As Leesville year-round athletes continue grinding, come out and support the Pride. Follow the Leesville athletics twitter for information on all in-season sports.

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