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No off-season for IVC's Burgos and Morlet

March 07, 2001|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

When Imperial Valley College's Nicole Morlet and Jenny Burgos laced up their cleats and headed to the field for softball practice in January, they became the first athletes to compete in three sports at IVC in two decades.

No woman athlete has accomplished the feat recently because for 18 years IVC was without a women's basketball program, limiting the sports options.

The women's basketball program was resurrected last year and when this school year started Morlet and Burgos were the first to play volleyball, basketball and softball.

On the high school level a number of male and female athletes try to compete in three sports, but when it comes to the collegiate level most coaches stress the importance of focusing on one sport.

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A primary reason for that is the additional pressure of multiple practice sessions.

"It does get kind of stressful having double practices every day," said Morlet, a 21-year-old sophomore. "It takes a lot out of you having to go to practice for two hours for one sport and then go two more, right after, for another."

That's been the drill for the two since late last fall, when volleyball ended and basketball began. That transition isn't as difficult as the one from basketball to softball, though, Burgos said.

"For basketball it seems like the competition is tougher and the games are more fast-paced," said Burgos an 18-year-old freshman.

With the success of the Arabs' basketball team this year the stretch run was about as difficult as any time of year for Burgos and Morlet who first went through two hours of softball practice followed by two more hours of intense basketball practice.

It's not something many people can do, but it is something Morlet and Burgos decided to do.

"This is something that I wanted. And I put a lot of effort into this," said Burgos. "I get a lot of self-satisfaction knowing that I'm accomplishing something that not a lot of other people can."

While both have taken the transition from sport to sport in stride, it's something IVC volleyball and softball coach Jill Lerno said she would recommend only to certain athletes.

"Not everyone can do what they're doing. Only certain athletes can do that," said Lerno, who played all three sports in high school and volleyball and softball at IVC. "And it does take natural athletes, who can go through three sports seasons."

Physically, it requires that athletes are willing to put their bodies through the grind of nine months of practices and games, as was the case with Morlet, whose first time playing volleyball was during the Arabs' 2000 season.

Their mental toughness, though, is what separates Morlet and Burgos from the rest.

"That's really where the strain is," said Lerno. "To be able to go to practice and have games and do school work really takes a lot out of them."

At times the two hardly have any time for school work. Travel time for games takes a big chunk of time and often that means four-hour trips to and from San Diego at night.

For basketball, getting back home from away games generally wasn't until about midnight. For softball, games start much earlier than the 7 p.m. starting time for basketball games.

Despite the time involved, neither teammate regrets her choice.

For Burgos, this may be her last three-sport venture as she plans to concentrate on her basketball skills and plans to transfer to a four-year school.

Said Morlet: "I wanted to do this and accomplish this now, while I still can. Because down the road I may not be able to do this again."

Added Burgos: "I have no regrets about any of this. I think it's a pretty good feeling to look back and say that you did this."

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