Caldwell Blog

My Experience as a Three-Sport Athlete

Posted by Olivia Furst '23
Interscholastic athletics competition requires time, energy, and dedication from both student-athletes and families. Competing on one school team can be taxing, but three? If you or your child is interested in sports at Caldwell or if you're unsure about balancing school and other commitments, read how Olivia Furst '23 describes her time as a three-sport student-athlete. The cross-country, basketball, and track and field competitor shares how she benefits from the experience in her own words.
Playing different sports at Caldwell Academy has been a highlight of my high school years, and even part of my time in middle school. I'm grateful for the opportunities I've had to grow as an athlete and a person as a member of the cross country, basketball, and track teams.

My participation started in middle school, where students can join the track and field team in the seventh grade. My dad brought up the idea of running track and I thought it would be fun to run with my friends. That was the right decision because I ended up loving it and recorded some decent times as a seventh-grader.

In the fall of eighth grade, I ran cross country because I had enjoyed track so much. The middle school cross-country team was such a joy to be a part of the first year. It was one of my first opportunities to bond with the sixth- and seventh-grade students on a team. I liked running on trails versus the track workouts and running the longer cross-country courses helped me realize I wanted to stick with distance events. Track and cross country opened my horizons to try something new. I would have never imagined running would become my main sport. 

When I joined the track team in seventh grade, it was the first time I was able to connect with high school students. Since track and field is a varsity sport, I competed with seniors as a seventh-grader. I loved interacting with the older students and I thought the “older kids” were the coolest. I ran on the 4x800 relay team with senior girls. They made me feel welcome on the team and gave me a preview of life in high school. Now that I am a junior, I like to connect with the younger runners and try to be a positive light to them.

I have made many friends throughout the years through track and cross country. Many of the runners participate in both cross country and track, so it’s special to build friendships over both seasons. I have been blessed to meet some of the best people through running. Some of my favorite team bonding events are going to di'lishi or Dairi-O after practices and meets. My favorite cross country memory is from last fall when we went to Wilmington for the state championships. A couple of my friends and I spent the night at the beach. We went out to dinner, played spikeball on the beach, and drove around town.

Track and cross country have shown me hard work pays off. Before last spring's track season, I had the same personal record in the mile for three straight seasons. I was putting in an average amount of effort, but I was not improving. During the 2021 season, I decided to start training extra hard. I went to the track on the weekends and committed to lowering my time by the end of the season. Because of the many hours of practice, I set a new personal best midseason. My hard work continued to show through my performances at the state championships where I earned second place in the 800 and third in 1600.

As a member of the track and cross country teams, I have not only learned leadership skills and the importance of hard work but also built many friendships and lasting memories. I’m so thankful to have competed on these teams and for the experiences I have gained.

Basketball is another one of my favorite high school experiences. In my freshman year, I tried out for the team on a whim. I didn’t participate in a winter sport and thought basketball would be a fun way to build new friendships. I have never loved a team of girls as much as I love our basketball team!

Basketball gifted me with a supportive coaching staff and teammates. Even though basketball is a big commitment at Caldwell, I have learned how to find joy in a sport while working hard and efficiently at the same time. Coach (Mike) Johnston and Coach (Jake) Papier have been amazing role models for me on the court and in life. I was almost cut my freshman year and barely got any playing time. I was fine with it because I loved being spirited on the bench. Towards the end of the season, one of our starters was injured and coach Johnston asked me to take her place. I was shocked he asked me but prepared to play my best.

Since then, my confidence has grown tremendously. I have improved on my shot and other basketball skills thanks to my supportive coaches and competitive teammates who push me to be a better player. It has been incredible to be part of a team that wants to see its teammates thrive. I have learned many important lessons from my teammates. My captains have shown me how to be a good leader for the team. I admire how they go into each game with confidence and grit.

This team is also special to me because of how the team has developed over the past three years. Our record improved each season, which reflected our team's hard work and growth. In the state tournament this year we made it to the quarterfinals, or the “Elite 8.” This was such a huge accomplishment that many of us never thought could happen. Through hard work and confidence, we proved ourselves wrong and took great pride in all we accomplished. I learned anything is possible when you believe in yourselves as a team. 

Off the basketball court, I have loved getting to know each girl individually. Many of my favorite Caldwell memories are from basketball, including dinner at coach Johnston’s before the Westchester game, playing “HeadsUp” on the bus, team dinners, and the locker room after a win. Basketball has shown me what it’s like to be on a supportive, committed team. 

I'm grateful that Caldwell offers these amazing sports programs and I encourage others to participate in athletics, even if you never have before. It’s never too late to try something new! My experience as a Caldwell student-athlete has helped shape me into the person I am today and one of the best parts of my high school career.

Caldwell Academy has several exciting and engaging team sports for Dialectic and Rhetoric students. Visit our Athletics page to learn more.