Running sneakers or cleats? A lacrosse ball or a soccer ball? Volleys and spikes, or rebounds and slam dunks?

While many athletes play two sports in high school, some choose to drop one and keep the other once they come to college. How they decide which one to drop and which one to keep, however, is the interesting part.

This decision doesn’t exclude Keene State College athletes. With the stress and workload of college, students often choose to hang up one of their jerseys.

One of those athletes is KSC senior Eddie Mercer, who played soccer and ran track in high school but when he came to KSC, the midfielder decided not to run on the school’s track team and focus on soccer.

Mercer said the decision wasn’t a hard one, as his family is one that has a long line of soccer players.

Mercer’s father played for Springfield College and now coaches at the club level;  his older brother played for Endicott College, and his younger brother is being recruited for college squads.

“For me it was pretty easy…I’ve been in love with the sport since I was a little kid. My whole family is a soccer family,” Mercer said.

Mercer isn’t the only one who picked one sport over another.

KSC senior Nate Howard is arguably a coach’s prototypical big man. Howard, who is seven feet tall, played both basketball and volleyball before coming to KSC.

Howard is able to block shots and score under the basket, all while leading the Little East Conference in rebounding last season.  Howard said his time playing volleyball has improved his jumping ability, making him a better basketball player .

He still plays intramural volleyball, but he said that the choice to focus on basketball goes back to his childhood.

Photo editor / Tim Smith

Photo editor / Tim Smith

“I’ve been playing basketball since I was four years old,” Howard said.

Howard had Division I scholarships for basketball and volleyball from Sacred Heart, but he said that Keene was the better fit.

“I just didn’t like the school.  I couldn’t see myself being there,” Howard continued, “Keene was just a great school for me…It’s just a good environment for playing basketball.”

There are, however, some players who don’t want to pick favorites

Sophomore Taylor Farland has been able to have her cake and eat it too. Well, she would, if the cake was a soccer ball and the spoon was a lacrosse stick. Farland plays both women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse for KSC. The two-sport athlete has 30 combined goals in less than two years.

Farland said that playing two sports has more benefits than consequences.

“I think that it gave me a really great, solid friend group,” Farland said. She continued, “It helped me with time management a lot because I knew I only had a certain amount of time to do [school] work. So I’d have to do my work during that time or else I knew soccer or lacrosse were going to get involved and I wasn’t going to have time to do it.”

Farland also ran indoor track in between seasons while in high school in order to stay in shape.

Even though it’s a lot of commitment, Farland said that those who want to play two sports should do so.

“Some people think that they can’t do it, but I think if they tried it, they’d figure out that they can,” Farland said.

Jake can be contacted at

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