Lauren Thorne enjoying life as a two-sport spring athlete

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It is not uncommon for athletes to play multiple sports throughout the year at the high school level. However, athletes playing two sports in the same season is not something you see every day. Naperville Central junior Lauren Thorne plays soccer and competes in track and field. She was a part of the Redhawk team who recently took home an indoor track and field DVC title at North Central College back in March. With the soccer team, Central is off to a great start to the season, which includes a recent victory over conference rival Waubonsie Valley. Soccer is Thorne’s main priority, but this year she wanted to run track as well because she felt it would help her with her primary sport. This Feature Story is sponsored by Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Lauren Thorne competing in soccer and track and field

“The coaches kind of wanted me to do track and it interested me as well. My family wanted me to run it just cause one of the things that I do the most in soccer is sprints. So, when track asked me to do sprints for them, I was very interested in that,” said Lauren Thorne, junior at Naperville Central.

Thorne did not plan to play both sports at once, initially. It just simply worked out that way.

“It is a lot to take on, but the coaches are really good about balancing it out for me and not overworking me or anything. I’m also 17 so my body’s okay. It’s not anything crazy and it’s good to stay active and stay busy so I enjoy it,” said Thorne.

Multi-sport athletes nothing new in the Thorne family

The Thorne family is used to having a schedule packed with athletics. Lauren’s older brother Payton has been the starting quarterback at Michigan State the past two seasons. He was a three-sport athlete at Naperville Central, playing basketball and baseball in addition to football.

Thorne among several athletes playing two sports at once

Having to compete in two sports in the same season does create challenges with Lauren’s schedule, especially while being a student on top of her commitment to athletics.

“There definitely will be overlaps and I can’t compete in DVC outdoor and play DVC soccer so we decided to do DVC soccer. So that’s kind of a conflict, but other than that like I said the coaches are super, super flexible about it especially track coaches because they know soccer is my main priority,” said Thorne.

“Giving students a chance to succeed in any form is really what a high school should be about. Obviously, there’s going to be some unique challenges. We’re working through it. Communication with the players, communication with the coaches, making sure that they’re healthy both physically and even emotionally. It takes a lot out of a kid to have to do both. You’re getting pulled in two directions. You’ve got schoolwork,” said Troy Adams, head coach of Naperville Central girls soccer.

Thorne is not the only athlete playing two sports in the spring. Neuqua Valley junior Zawadi Brown runs track and field and finished in the top 5 at State last year in the 200 and 400-meter races while her relay team placed third in the 4X100 meter relay. She also plays for the lacrosse team as well, helping the Wildcats to a sectional championship appearance last spring. There are several other high school athletes who have played or are currently playing two sports at once and Thorne has high praise for those with a busier sports schedule just like her.

“I give all the credit to all those athletes as well, especially in the fall. There’s definitely athletes that do it then. It’s a lot to take on, but it’s super fun and obviously, most of us enjoy it,” said Thorne.