Advice from Two Sport Athletes

Robbie Zirlis, Brian Gendron, and Meagan Sears.


Alana Zirlis

Playing sports in college is a huge commitment, especially when it comes to playing two sports.   Research from states that two sport athletes are a lot more coachable and have a lot more opportunities to be more competitive. Two sport athletes also are less likely to get injured because they are able to use different muscles. While playing one sport, an athlete is constantly reusing the same muscle which causes more injuries. Being able to use many different muscles makes an athlete a more stronger and more talented player. Morgan graduates Robbie Zirlis, Brian Gendron, and Athletic Director Meagan Sears have shared their experiences of being two sport athletes.

Robbie Zirlis

Robbie Zirlis, a sophomore athlete at Mitchell college in New London, who plays basketball and baseball, states ,”I  pursued sports in college because I have been playing both sports for so long, and I have fun while playing both”. As a two sport athlete, he has many accomplishments including being part of two conference champion teams. As a freshman and sophomore in basketball, he has won two conference championships and has NCAA appearances. In baseball, he has one conference championship freshman year. He has also accomplished being named rookie of the week twice for basketball and was part of the alternate team. Robbie originally went into his recruiting process believing he was only going to play baseball, but with all the attention he received for both sports, he realized how important they were both to him.

In college on a day to day basis, Robbie usually has classes in the morning and afternoon. Sometimes he has a couple hours between each class which is the time he is able to get his homework done. At night, he has practices, but as a two sport athlete, Robbie states many problems that he experiences. During the winter, he has to balance practice times for both sports. He starts off with going to the first half of baseball, and then leaves to go to his basketball practice. Also the pressure of balancing school work and sports is very challenging. In his sports seasons, most times he will be traveling out of state for games and tournaments which can last up to a week. Coming home and having to make up this school work in a sports season is very challenging. With this, he is used to not having a lot of free time during the day to be able to go out to social events or to just have time to himself.

But, do not let these facts drive you away from wanting to become a two sport athlete. Robbie states that becoming a two sport athlete is one of his best decisions. Since his senior season was cut short because COVID-19, he was motivated to keep playing. He is still able to do the sports he loves and not give anything up. If you ever think of becoming an athlete Robbie says, “Why just stop at highschool when you have the opportunity to keep playing?”.

Brian Gendron 

Brian Gendron played in indoor and outdoor tracks at University of Mass. In college, Brian Gendron had a huge accomplishment of breaking the UMass 800 meter indoor school record as a sophomore. This record is still standing today. Being recruited into D1 school is a very accomplished moment in his life. Going into it was very nerve racking because he did not know the standards of what to expect. But from the motivation of his grandfather, he was able to get in confidently and break records in this school. The process of getting into this school started off with reaching out to coaches via email during his junior year in high school. A big piece of advice is to initiate conversation, to keep in touch with the coaches, and schedule visits at the school. Touring schools helped him feel more comfortable. He was going to school for business, so when he toured he would ask to meet the coaches and the team.

As a college two sport athlete, he states that his most challenging moment is the time sacrifice. Life as a college student is very different. There is not as much time while playing sports, and you miss out on a lot of social events. Brian had a very packed schedule. He was part of business school as well as playing two sports. Usually, on the weekends most students were out socializing with friends, but his weekends consisted of him being locked in his dorm doing his work. He learned the importance of designating his time to what is most important in his career, and he learned the significance of sacrificing his time and using it to work on more crucial things.

For any upcoming athlete, Gendron advises that you do not get distracted and you prioritize your time. With all the time sacrifices he has been through he learned how important it is to prioritize your time. Also, being a student two sport athlete requires a lot of sacrifice. Having to give up social events is very hard, but when athletes have goals, set they need to work hard for what you want to achieve. Being able to prove to themselves how far they can go, is the main reason for becoming a student athlete.

Meagan Sears 

Meagan Sear, the new Athletic Director, was a two sport athlete who played field hockey and lacrosse at Springfield College in Massachusetts. As a college athlete, Mrs. Sears had many accomplishments. As a junior and senior, in college Mrs. Sears was a field hockey captain and she made it into the Elite 8. She states that this was a once in a lifetime    opportunity, and she was very honored to be a part of it. In Lacrosse, Mrs. Sears held the record for having the most assists in a season. Her commitment to these two sports was inspiring. In her senior year of highschool, Mrs. Sears ended up tearing her ACL leading to her not being able to play field hockey. Since she loved this sport, she did not want the closure of her field hockey career to end this way. That is why she decided to pursue both sports in college.

Coming into these sports, Mrs. Sears states she had a very difficult time. As a freshman on the lacrosse team, she states, “Most of the athletes were able to grow and bond during the offseason”. Meanwhile, Mrs. Sears spent her time playing Field Hockey in the fall which prevented her from being part of the bonding activities in the offseason. Luckily, her sister was on the lacrosse team which helped her catch up with other girls and not feel left out on the team. With her sister on the team, she was able to meet and get to know many of her sister’s friends. Mrs. Sears also states that being in season she found managing her priorities much easier. Knowing that her priorities of school and sports were very important to her, she was able to find a balance in season. Usually, Mrs. Sears daily routine consisted of classes sprinkled throughout the morning and afternoon with practices that were usually later in the day. Though, sometimes there were early morning practices that were scheduled around school time.

Even with all these struggles, Mrs. Sears still had a very successful college career. She states that being a two sport athlete takes a lot of commitment and drive. She states, “There is a school for everybody”, but before joining athletes also have to self reflect at a competitive level. She also states, “Go into the season with an open mindset”. “Don’t have high expectations for yourself”. She learned that the transitions from high school to college are a  big change. Athletes do not always play the same position, but they have to trust and be open minded and have trust with your coaches. The coaches know what is best for you as an athlete, so you need to trust them in what your career is like. Being a college athlete is not just about sports, but it is about the education as well as choosing a school that you feel most comfortable in.