Calculus is one way this athlete stays sharp mentally

This is the second in a series of articles about multi-sport athletes and what they do during the summer to prepare for their upcoming school year.

Erika Stinchcomb is a rare individual. She is truly a student/athlete.

The student part is amazing. She has earned 4.57 grade-point average in college preparatory, honors and advanced placement classes. A 4.0 is considered perfect. You do the math. I can’t. Erika apparently can.

As an athlete, Erika is truly unique. She is a three-sport athlete. She runs cross country during the fall. She plays soccer in the winter and she is a California Interscholastic Federation track athlete in the spring.

“This is the first summer that I am not on a soccer team,” she said. “The team that I used to play on folded, so I am not playing this summer.”

One can hear the regret in her voice. Soccer is her favorite sport.

Erika is working on her cross country and track skills during the summer. “I run at least four or five days a week.”

She actually likes running. She can run long distances. She can sprint. She has earned a berth in the CIF meet the past two seasons.  

She doesn’t work in the weight room in the summer. “I just run to keep in shape.”

Her summer job is at the Ramona Pizza Hut five days a week. When asked if she works on her soccer kicking skills at work, she just laughed.

Erika is not attending summer school. To keep her intellectual skills sharp, she does a lot of reading and works on calculus. How many athletes work on calculus during the summer? Ever?

During her spare in the summer, she hangs out with her friends, reads, goes to the beach. She is very active in the youth group at her church, Immaculate Heart of Mary, and goes on outings to Six Flags and other places with her youth group. She said she will not be going on a formal vacation but is getting plenty of rest and relaxation.

Erika plans on putting her good grades and test score to use by going to Stanford or a UC school and taking pre-med courses. She wants to enter a career in medicine.

When asked her favorite sport, she did not hesitate to answer. “Soccer. I participate in cross country to get in shape for soccer. Track also helps my soccer game.”

“Coaching Erika is a pleasure,” said Damon Baldwin, her track coach. “She works hard and has a great attitude. It is athletes like her that keep me coaching track.

“I told her that I was thinking about switching her events. I think that she could be a great 400 meter runner. She has the stamina and the speed. She has been our best sprinter for the past two seasons. She is the epitome of the term student/athlete and team player. She is an amazing individual.  

Coach Bob Verhoest simply stated, “She is a thoroughbred.” Those who know about Coach V’s past in the racing industry know that that is a compliment.  

Erika’s mom and dad, Anita and David, are supportive in all of her endeavors, she said, adding that she definitely got her athletic aptitude from her mom. “She was a big-time softball player.”

Her academic skills come from both parents, she said.

Erika wants to participate in soccer and track in college. With her grades, determination and drive, Erika will be able to handle the load if she cuts back to just two sports.

   
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