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Spring two-sport stars on the elite circuit and football seasons

Two-sport stars are not atypical in high school sports. Far from it.

But during the same season, in aerobically demanding sports such as football and athletics? Performing at an elite level?

That’s a bit more remarkable. And it is a driving force behind the high-level success of Timnath girls soccer and track and field this spring.

The Cubs football team is undefeated (15-0-1) and is coming off their first-ever playoff victory, 7-0 over Regis Groff on Thursday, with No. 25 Frontier Academy next at home.

On the track, Timnath is a rising force and the next to carry on Northern Colorado’s proud track and field traditions. The Cubs own four of Class 2A’s top five relay times, plus three individual top scores, and will be a favorite to win the team title.

The sophomore school has a bevy of up-and-coming players. But the crossover trio of Addison Geraets, Lily Eisbrener and Natalie Washburn has huge implications for both teams.

“It’s really cool to see a school like us – we still don’t even have that many juniors – have both teams win so often,” said sophomore Geraets.

Eisbrener is among the best 3A football players, period. She has collected 33 goals and 11 assists, driving the Cubs’ prolific scoring attack with Gracyn Redmon and Maia Kub. For the record, she was also on Timnath’s 4×100- and 4×200-meter relays, which hold the state’s top 2A times.

Washburn battled a hip injury but still scored ten goals with six assists despite missing several games. The junior is also a middle-distance machine and runs on Timnath’s industry-leading 4×400 and 4×800 relay units. She also won the Cubs’ first individual state title (800 meters) last spring.

And Geraets is an imposing defensive presence on the pitch, often playing as a central defender or defensive midfield. She is also a Patriot League champion in the 300 hurdles and is part of Timnath’s top 4×400 relay group.

They helped both teams reach the Patriot League championship last week.

There’s no shortage of performance for this group, but it doesn’t come without compromise.

For starters, there isn’t much free time for these teens. Exercises before and after school on some days. An extra mental burden on top of school work and “just now“one sport. Varying and shifting schedules per week, sometimes per day.

“When you see their dedication, it definitely makes you want to work even harder,” said Timnath sprinter and teammate Emili Voelker, who also owns 2A’s top 100 sprint time.

Managing the balancing act between sports with such conflicting schedules took time, and stemmed from a “trial year” last year for head coaches Matt Miltenberg (track) and James Cockrell (football).

They learned to work with all three athletes (plus Emily Bakke, who was largely absent this year due to injury), and did well for all parties.

“Last year was a huge learning experience,” Miltenberg said. “Both programs were just trying to get a foothold and pushing pretty hard.”

It led to a burnout halfway through the season, but ultimately to preparation this spring to approach everything with more tact.

They sat down with the girls and their families and tried to be “more intentional.”

Cockrell and Miltenberg now map out schedules in two-week blocks. There is a shared agenda. Rankings of which weeks the most important matches or meetings take place.

“The goal is to make them feel like they are fully part of both teams and give them the opportunity to excel on both teams,” Cockrell said.

It’s also about managing team dynamics, especially for football, as the trio has bounced in and out of the lineup. The three expressed their gratitude to teammates and coaches just for supporting them in both.

“We have a plan in place that will hopefully make everything as fair as possible,” Washburn said.

“We’ve missed more football than track, but you’d never know it from the way Cockrell reacts. The coach will see our times and congratulate us on our new PR times or winning the conference, and then it’s all football.”

Switching leads to interesting juggling. For example, one plays a match while the other two run a race. It highly depends on who is needed and when for which event. Or someone gives up their spot in an individual race, but returns for a team relay.

It was largely manageable, especially as Timnath football dominated opponents this spring, outscoring them 120-7.

With state championship week approaching, there is a potential final boss for the two-sport trio.

If the Cubs were to make the state semifinals, it would likely overlap with some key distance events on the track Thursday night.

State track entries are due Monday. Lineups must then be set up. A soccer semifinal in Arvada is a 20-minute drive away.

“We may make some tough decisions,” Miltenberg said. “But that would be a good problem to have.”

“I would probably tell them to go win a state championship,” said Cockrell, who ran track in high school. ‘We discovered how to play with and without them. If you’re on the last step for the job? Then go get gold.’

That’s an example of the relationship between the two programs. Symbiotic, not at odds.

Whether it’s fitness, team support or athletic development, it all pushes the trio (and their teams) to greater heights.

“You hope they feed off each other,” Miltenberg said.

“Now that you’ve gotten to know these girls, you can’t help but be extremely invested in their success. It’s exciting for them and for our school.”