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Multiple challenges

by Matthew Ondesko, Managing Editor

Geoff Schneider/Sports Union

Being a multi sport athlete is not as easy as it may look. A student-athlete has to be dedicated to each sport during that season, and find to hone their skills in the offseason. It can be daunting at times - but also rewarding.

Nardin Academy’s Emily Gorman knows all too well what it takes to play multiple sports in high school. The junior plays varsity soccer, basketball and softball, excelling in each one. While some might consider it a heavy work load, Gorman wouldn’t have it any other way.

For Gorman this isn’t something knew that she just happened to do when she entered Nardin Academy. She was playing multiple sports growing up, and for hurt this is a way to get into a routine.

A routine that has helped her be organized when it comes to academics and athletics.

“I have always played multiple sports throughout the year. By the time I reached Nardin I was used to balancing a lot of activities,” stated Gorman. “The days are spent at school, going to practice, doing homework and attending travel practices, training sessions or private softball lessons. I think this routine helps me stay more organized and focused in both academics and athletics.”

The grueling nature of playing these different sports is the year-round training that takes place. Very rarely does an athlete have a day off. They are constantly training, and working on some part of their game.

For Gorman she knows there is no offseason. No offseason to recharge her battery. She is going from one sport to another to another, and that doesn’t even include playing in the summer. In the “offseason” she is working on some aspect of her game, whether it’s hitting for softball, or speed and agility for her other sports.

“Year round. There is no off season. I have a trainer who works with me on my speed, strength and agility multiple times per week all year,” stated Gorman. “Until the end of this summer season, I played all three of my sports on travel teams as well as in school so I was getting touches in soccer, basketball and softball weekly even if it wasn't "in season". I also believe that playing each sport is cross training for the others. For example the skills I use in soccer can be applied to basketball and visa versa.”

Some students, when they enter high school, may want to sit back and enjoy what the experience may bring to them. Gorman enjoys competing for her high school. Playing high school sports is different from playing for a travel team.

Travel teams players are more individualized. While they are looking to win as a team, some players are also looking to be noticed by colleges coaches. It makes the travel experience a little different.

In high school, an athlete is playing for the name on the front of the jersey, and not the name on the back. They are playing for school pride. They are playing with their friends, and enjoying the experience a little bit more.

While the pressure is still there to win, it’s a different kind of pressure.

“I love playing for Nardin. It is such a privilege to represent my school in not only one but three varsity sports as an underclassman. Receiving some team and the Rising Star Award over the past two years has been such an honor because Nardin, and in particular the Class of 2024, has so many talented and dedicated student athletes. I have worked very hard at Nardin, both academically and athletically, and to have that recognized was extremely gratifying,” explained Gorman. “Being named first team all Catholic in softball as a freshman and a sophomore was an amazing honor. There are so many incredible players in our league-not just on a local but on a national level- and to have my name included among them is humbling and pushes me to work harder every day to continue to get better.”

While Gorman plays three sports, softball is the one that she excels at the most. It’s also the one she started later in life. Gorman didn’t even pick up a bat and glove until she was 10 years old. In sports terms that’s starting pretty late.

But, Gorman hasn’t missed a step since putting on the cleats and stepping across those white lines. Since entering in Nardin the junior has been named a two time All-Catholic on a team that is loaded with Division I talent.

“I didn't start playing softball until the age of 10. I was very inexperienced but my first coach, Julie Murphy (Will South), saw potential in me. My local team, the Lasers, was very patient with me and helped me develop. My coaches have been great mentors and I have formed strong friendships playing with the same core group of girls over the years. Playing local has also allowed me to continue to play multiple sports in travel and in school. In addition to my Lou Gehrig Lasers team, I recently also became a member of the Diamond Girls organization through a friend I play with at Nardin,” stated Gorman. “The DG are locally based but travel more than my other team so this was the perfect balance for me. This summer I played in tournaments in the Midwest, Northeast and as far south as South Carolina. For both myself and my siblings, my parents have always focused not only on the quality of the teams we play on but the people we are playing with and the families on those teams. They have always wanted us to be happy and have fun in addition to playing on talented teams. They have always stressed the importance of the friendships and memories we are making. I have played on the same travel teams in all of my sports throughout my travel career. While some head coaches and people on those teams have changed over the years, the majority have remained. I think this consistency and familiarity has been beneficial to me by increasing my confidence and allowing me to mature and grow as a player.”

She also takes her craft very seriously. If there is one thing about Gorman’s it’s she is never satisfied. A career .550 hitter, Gorman still looks at the hits she didn’t get. She looks at the times she failed to drive in a run to help her team win the game.

It’s that type of determination that makes Gorman who she is. She’s a competitor. She wants to play at the highest level, and help her teammates achieve their goals. That’s why she is in the cage working on her craft.

That’s why she has a personal hitting coach to hep her work on the things she needs to succeed when it comes to game time. It’s the little things that matter when it comes to trying to be the best at sport that she embraces.

“Hitting a ball is one of the toughest skills to do in sports. I have a career 0.550 batting average in high school. While this is considered an excellent batting average on paper, it also means that in over four out of every ten at bats I fail to get a hit and do my job offensively,” stated Gorman. “Hitting is definitely an area that no matter how good you are, there is always room for improvement and there is always work to be done. I think my ability to visualize and track the ball well comes from the continued and countless hours of off and in season training. I spend 2-3 hours a week at SPP with Ray Bielanin year round. Repetition is the key to success.”

Gorman won’t sugar coat it, her goal is to play in college. She feels like she has the game that will translate to the next level. She is a very good hitter, and can play the field extremely well. She has dominated on the diamond since entering Nardin three years ago,

Through her first two years of platting varsity softball, the junior has 62 hits and 62 runs batted in. She has led the Monsignor Martin in both hits and RBI her first two years. Her goals are simple, Gorman wants to reach 100 hits and RBI for a career and is well on her way.

Gorman right now is averaging 31 hits and RBI on the season, which were put her on pace for more than 100 in each category.

“My goal is to play in college. I have already attended some prospect camps and have started contacting some coaches. I am also committed to playing my other two sports through my high school career at Nardin. I know this is going to take focus and dedication on my behalf. I am going to need to continue my training regimen and continue to set performance goals for myself. I have been the Monsignor Martin leader in hits and RBIs in both my freshman and sophomore years. I currently have 62 hits and 62 RBIs in my high school career. It is my goal to reach 100 of each in high school, hopefully by the end of junior year,” explained Gorman. “While this is a lofty goal to achieve by the end of next year, it is what motivates me. The more I work to improve, the more I help my team and I also help myself in terms of college recruiting. We have lost the softball championships two years in a row to St Mary's. It is my goal to help lead the softball team to a Monsignor Martin and state championship before I graduate. As a freshman, I was given the opportunity to play in the varsity soccer playoffs in the Monsignor Martin league. We won the championship that year. All three of the teams I play on at Nardin are strong, talented and all have championship potential. I would like to help bring the soccer championship back to Nardin in the next two years as well as secure basketball and softball titles.”

All of this is attainable as long as she can stay healthy. Playing so many different sports can lead to different injuries. Over her career, Gorman has stayed healthy for the most part. Last season her ankle was giving her some trouble during the basketball season.

But, she made she sure did whatever the trainer told her as to not make the injury worse. Being young, Gorman was able to recover pretty quick from whatever was bothering her.

“I have had some injuries. My ankle caused me a lot of trouble in basketball my sophomore year,” stated Gorman. “I credit my quick recovery and lack of serious injuries so far to my trainer Fred Duncan. He works with me all year, understands my needs as a multi sport athlete and has the experience and knowledge to help me rebound quickly when I have dealt with injuries.”

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what sport Gorman plays. The girls know she is going to give it her all every single day in practice and games. Gorman owes to everyone around her to be at her best and help her teams win championships.

It’s not about the individual goals, it’s about getting Nsrdin back to where they believe they belong.

“Absolutely not. My coaches and teammates put in a lot of time and effort each season and it would be disrespectful to them to not try my hardest at all times,” stated Gorman. “I owe it to them and to myself to be the best I can be. I am on each team to compete, to perform and to help the team have a successful season. I want to practice and play hard. I think if I played scared of injury or more cautiously I would actually be at higher risk of hurting myself because I would be more focused on that instead of the task at hand.”

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