Playing two high school sports during the same season is rare. Succeeding at both is even less common.
For the past three years, Oak Harbor juniors Tyler Sievert and Tim Poiry have played soccer and run cross country. Both are endurance sports, and by playing both, they have an edge in being well-conditioned.
After two seasons that saw them contribute to both sports as starters, the two have taken their respective games to new levels this year.
|Oak Harbor junior Tyler Sievert (17) goes for a header while being marked
by Genoa junior midfielder Joshua Mabus (12) (Press photo by Russ Lytle)
Sievert, a regional qualifier last year in cross country, has established himself as one of the best runnerS in Northwest Ohio while serving as a stout defender on a Rocket soccer team that started the season 12-0. Poiry, a returning All-Sandusky Bay Conference midfielder, has been instrumental to the team's success.
Both say it's a combination of their love for both sports and the fact that both teams are in contention for a league title that motivates them.
“I think it's a little bit of both,” Sievert said. “I love soccer and cross country, and the teams are both good. I've always done both and they help each other out.”
Poiry added, “I've never been able to choose. I've been a little better at soccer, but I like playing both, and I've been doing them both for a while. It's tough balancing both. It's hard finding time for sleep and studying.”
In 2013, Sievert, who says his primary sport is cross country, has consistently run below 17-minute times and recently set a school record with a time of 16:13 at the Lakota Invititaional on Sept. 14. Last weekend, he finished first (16:46) at the Cardinal Stritch Invite at Maumee Bay State Park, leading a race that featured 155 runners. Save for the Tiffin Carnival, one of the nation's largest meets that saw him come in 14th, Sievert has finished no lower than fourth in any meet this season.
In soccer, Sievert contributes with his defense.
“We run a 4-4-2 format,” he said. “Our No. 1 goal is team defense so we can contain (our opponent) and someone will come from behind to get the ball. We try to keep them at bay until they make the mistake.”
Poiry has consistently been the cross country team's No. 4 runner and was instrumental, as was Sievert, in helping the Rocket cross country team finish second in the SBC the last two years. This season, however, the two are hoping that the Rockets can get over the hump and win the league title.
Poiry ran an 18:24 at the Cardinal Stritch Invite, good enough to finish 28th, and the Rockets finished third out of 20 teams. He has shown improvement this season and, if he continues at his current pace, will help give the team a good shot at winning the league and competing for a spot at the Division II regional meet in Tiffin.
Soccer coach Ken Filar and cross country coach Eric Buckman deserve credit for allowing flexibility to play both sports. Oak Harbor athletic director Drew Grahl also tries to help avoid conflicts with cross-country meets and soccer matches.
“Tyler's good at balancing both,” Buckman said. “He's starting to learn how to rest and ice his legs. There aren't many kids that put in the mileage like them. I know that I can contact Tim and he'll run some miles after soccer. It's on him to stay healthy and balance his time.”
Despite their busy schedule, both Sievert and Poiry maintain grade-point averages just over 4.0 and were named to the honor roll last school year.
“They're two nice guys. They come from good families,” Buckman said. “These two boys are exceptional young men and it is fun to work with them.”