A total of 28 local multi-sport student-athletes were recently honored with the KHSAA Triple Threat Award after competing at the varsity level during all three sports seasons.
The number is up from 21 last year, and seven athletes are two-time recipients. In its second year of existence, the Triple Threat Award was presented to a total of 1,878 student-athletes across the state for 2018-19.
Repeat honorees locally are Daviess County’s Kyran Rowan; Owensboro’s Andrew Chancellor, Trace Grenier and Imonte Owsley; Owensboro Catholic’s Jude Neal; and Trinity’s Cassidy Morris and Nina Wathen.
Owensboro and Owensboro Catholic each had eight recipients to lead the way for local schools, followed by Trinity (five), Daviess County (four) and Apollo (three).
Owensboro football head coach Jay Fallin is a proponent of athletes competing in different sports for a handful of reasons from overall success to personal growth.
“The more difficult the game-on-the-line-type situations that a kid is put in across a wide array of different athletic skills, the better he is going to be in those situations,” he said.
He said it could range from throwing a last-second touchdown in football to hitting clutch free throws in basketball, and from delivering a game-winning hit in baseball to running a 100-yard dash in track.
“The more types of situations like that he is put into, the more mentally tough and the more capable that kid is going to be when he gets back into those situations,” Fallin said. “You can’t simulate that as well in an off-season activity.”
Fallin said the results largely speak for themselves, as some of the best runs for OHS teams have come when the same players make up rosters for teams in fall, winter and spring.
“Owensboro High School has a long tradition of athletic excellence, and it’s been at its best over the years when we had a number of guys playing multiple sports,” he said.
Fallin also said doctors are increasingly saying multi-sport athletes are less prone to injury. A study by the National Federation of State High School Associations further backs up the claim.
The study found that moderately specialized athletes had a 50 percent increased risk and highly specialized athletes had an 85 percent increased risk of injury compared to the athletes with a low level of specialization.
Fallin also said athletes are more likely to fully take in the lessons from coaches when they are being emphasized from different people.
“If a kid is around me 12 months out of the year, some of the things I say may become white noise,” he said. “If they are around me (and then other coaching staffs) and they hear similar lessons, then those things are going to start to reinforce and they’re going to realize they are hearing very similar things from each coach — things that cut across sports like teamwork, worth ethic, having a great attitude and being coachable.”
In creating the award last year, the KHSAA made an effort to continue the national emphasis and the KHSAA’s own efforts to de-emphasize sports specialization in the athletic culture.
“In these days where some people erroneously believe that a student needs to participate in only one activity year round to succeed, the Triple Threat Award allows us to counter that myth with nearly 1,900 great examples of kids that represent their school all year long as multi-sport student-athletes,” said KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett. “Every study published continues to prove that much more damage is done by sport specialization than benefit is gained, and we will continue to emphasize that point.”
Of the 280 member schools, 269 had at least one Triple Threat honoree, and 11 schools feature at least 16 honorees.
By class, 509 seniors, 482 juniors, 453 sophomores, 363 freshmen, 53 eighth-graders and 18 seventh-graders were honored. By gender, 843 females and 1,035 males qualified for the award.
By sport, basketball had 1,132 honorees (647 boys and 485 girls), track and field had 1,077 (594 boys and 483 girls), cross country had 527 (258 boys and 269 girls), football had 522 and soccer 452 (189 boys and 263 girls).
*Asterisk denotes repeat recipient.
|Daviess County||Seth Foster||2022||Football||Basketball||Track|
|Kyra Rowan*||2021||Cross Country||Dance||Track|
|Ashley Colburn||2022||Cross Country||Swimming||Track|
|Owensboro Catholic||Clara Bach||2020||Volleyball||Swimming||Track|
|Joseph Hayden||2019||Cross Country||Swimming||Tennis|
|Logan Jones||2020||Cross Country||Basketball||Track|
|Jude Neal*||2020||Cross Country||Swimming||Track|
|Hannah Overstreet||2020||Cross Country||Cheerleading||Track|
|Landon Huff||2022||Cross Country||Basketball||Baseball|