The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
Senior dons three jerseys for SPU athletics
By , Staff Reporter
Published: October 10 2012
Many young atheletes train hard day in and day out with the dreams of becoming a college athlete. By high school, most athletes specialize in one sport to pursue for college. Senior Katie Thralls, on the other hand, participates in three sports at the college level—an uncommon feat.
Thralls, from Livermore, Calif., grew up playing every sport. From soccer to gymnastics to swimming, skiing and basketball; she did it all. She attributes her competitive spirit to her three older siblings. In high school Katie narrowed down her sports to water polo, diving and basketball.
When applying for college, Katie primarily applied to small Christian schools in California but also sent in an application to Seattle Pacific. During her senior year in high school, Katie decided that she really wanted to play basketball in college. After talking with numerous coaches at different schools, Katie came up to SPU for a basketball tryout, where she made the team.
“I loved both the school and the girls’ team,” Thralls said. “It felt like God opened the door here.”
However, in a small reserve role for the women’s basketball team, Thralls began to miss the urge of competition. Finally, in her junior year, Thralls asked her basketball coaches if she could try other sports.
“I was amazed by how supportive not only my coaches were, but my teammates on the basketball team were,” Thralls said.
Sophomore guard Suzanna Ohlsen added: “The whole basketball team, including the coaches, was behind her. We were a bit nervous, but we knew she’d have success.”
After receiving the go ahead from her coaches, Thralls tried out for the track team last spring. As a long distance runner, she surpassed her own expectations.. In her first ever 5,000-meter race on March 31, she placed seventh with a time of 18:51.
“Katie Thralls is the hardest working person you will ever meet,” Ohlsen said. “She can do anything she wants to do.”
After her success in track, Thralls decided to do cross country for the first time in her life during her senior year.
“In high school I wasn’t much of a runner, but track and cross country were the only other sports my basketball coaches felt comfortable with me doing,” Thralls said.
In her first career race in Fairbanks, Thralls placed second overall. Thralls’s best race of the year was the Saint Martin’s Invitational on Sept. 22. Thralls placed eighth overall, including first among SPU runners.
Possibly most impressive is how Thralls has been able to keep up with all of her school work and maintain a social life. It is one thing to do three sports in high school, but in college the time commitment is so much greater; it can easily overwhelm many student athletes.
“My social life is with my teammates; it’s where I’ve made great friendships,” Thralls said. “Through doing multiple sports I have also learned to manage my time extremely well. I have to be able to study everywhere and anytime.”
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