From left: Lehigh Mountain Hawks sophomore Clare Severe and freshman Erin Racano and Mary Casey, pose on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, at Rauch Field House. All three are double-sport athletes playing for the Lehigh women's soccer team and track and field team. (Toni Isreal/ B&W Staff)

A glimpse into the life of Lehigh’s two-sport athletes

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Being a student and juggling schoolwork is a part-time job.

Being a student athlete at Lehigh is an even bigger commitment, and doing so in two sports is something only a few can manage.

Sophomore Clare Severe and freshmen Erin Racano and Mary Casey are part of that few, playing soccer and running track for the Mountain Hawks.

None of the women had any plans to play two sports in college. Each was recruited for a specific sport and after getting to Lehigh decided they wanted to participate in another. All of the women ran track and played soccer in high school which contributed to wanting to continue their careers at the collegiate level. Racano and Severe were recruited to play soccer while Casey was recruited to run track.

After each of their first seasons, they decided that participating in both sports was something they were interested in and the coaches supported them in doing so.

It wasn’t a group decision to play both sports – it was something that happened at random. However, they all agree that having people to go through the process with has made it easier, since they aren’t all completely alone.

“I didn’t come to Lehigh to play both sports,” Racano said. “I actually never thought I would want to run track in college after high school. But I really really missed it so I decided to give it a shot.”

Having the coaches’ support behind them is important and the key to the success of these student athletes. The coaches work together to help the girls with their schedules balancing athletics and academics.

“I was recruited to play soccer,” Racano said. “After our season ended I went in to Coach Lambinus’ office to reflect on the season and I mentioned that I might want to try running winter track and he was super supportive and encouraging and ensured me that all the coaches would work together to make it work which was extremely comforting.”

While being a student athlete can be stressful at Lehigh, playing two sports makes it that much more difficult.

The time commitment the women give to each sport and their school work is more than the average student. Casey said sometimes they will have to miss a practice for one sport in the offseason to be at an event for the sport that is currently in season.

“Sometimes it is very difficult to manage both sports,” Severe said. “The coaches are good about meeting and working together to try to make things go smoothly for us. We are only allowed one real soccer practice with balls in the winter, and this is the only soccer practice that the girls who run track are required to attend since we run and lift with the track team.”

While Severe, Racano and Casey have to juggle both sports, they also have to handle the stress of school work on top of athletics.

“Playing both sports really makes me focus even more on my schoolwork,” Casey said.

Each woman agreed that playing both sports causes more of a stress on academics and time commitment, but in the end it’s worth it.

“I definitely have to work twice as hard to stay on top of my schoolwork and both sports,” Racano said.  “But I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

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