On the Green and the Track

Senior Richie Thomas discuses his two sports one season.


Avery Scott-Fudge, Features Writer

Richie Thomas is a senior, three-sport athlete at Lakeland High School, but what makes him unique is he plays two of those sports at the same time. 

Thomas is a varsity athlete for the Lakeland golf team as well as the Lakeland track and field team. While he excels at both these sports, playing two sports at once has its challenges. 

He started golfing when he was 13, and joined the track team his junior year. Originally, running track was not in Thomas’s plans. 

“Well I was just going to play golf during high school but etch leaned on me to do track and when I started running I found out that I was pretty fast and just started to work hard at both of the sports and became pretty successful at both of them,” said Thomas. 

Thomas said, “I am faster than Terrance Edwards.”

Track coach Brian Etchison knows how to manage two-sport athletes like Thomas. 

“Anytime someone is doing two sports it takes a great commitment on their part, and great organization with the coaches. Coach Anderson is awesome to work with, and we have the same goals for Thomas, and I’m grateful Coach Anderson is as easy to work with as he has been,” Etchison said. 

Thomas acknowledged the struggles that come with doing two sports at once. “The hardest part is not being able to give my 100% of time to either sport, also missing school sucks,” Thomas said. 

From a scheduling perspective, Thomas’s two sports do not present a conflict. Matt Neff, the athletic director, offered his take.

“From scheduling, it does not affect us at all, actually. It’s up to him to manage his two sports, golf and track work well together because golf is late. He can go to track practice early and golf practice after that,” said Neff. 

Clearly, the only conflict that would be presented at least so far would be conflicting golf tournaments and track meets, but that is not a frequent occurrence. 

One of Thomas’s teammates, Brady Hanna, spoke about how this affects the golf team as a whole. 

“It’s a little tough keeping up with two sports, and showing that commitment level, between golf and track,” Hanna said.

His perspective is exceptionally unique because Hanna balances golf and tennis, while being a top varsity player for both, so he is very aware of the challenges.