May 29, 2012 17 photos
May 19, 2012 1 photo
Springfield— Caleb Harris describes long jumping as a sport where "time kind of freezes." It may be the only time the senior slows down.
On this day, Harris gets about an hour of jumping in at the Southeast High School track. Afterwards, he will pack his bags, walk across the high school campus and onto the baseball diamond.
Harris doubles as Southeast's staring second baseman and standout long jumper.
"I really like adding team totals to the points in track and scoring that win that really counts in baseball," Harris said.
"Caleb Harris is a very busy person, whether it's through baseball, track (or) cross county" admits Christopher Hood, Southeast's track and field coach. "At one time he played basketball. So he is an all-around athlete throughout all four of his years at Southeast high school.
Before he heads to the field, he has to change. He trades his ankle socks for a pair of blue stirrups, as the sand from his long jump practice still lingers on his feet. Harris will put his baseball slacks over his track shorts and puts his practice jersey over his yellow Spartans shirt.
I don't know if he sleeps at all," said baseball coach Brad Leininger. "I think he has to study until midnight every night."
According to Leininger, Harris started at second midway through his freshman year. He'll usually bat near the top of the lineup and use his speed to spark plug the offense.
"He is a long jump specialist," describes Hood. "He has to maintain a certain speed, and I think it helps on the base paths."
Both coaches laud Harris for his positive attitude and willingness to do anything for the teams. And the feelings seem mutual between player and coaches.
"Everyone once in a while I'll go in and go from baseball to track and get a jump in," said the senior. "They've had to stick around afterwards. They have families of their own and I really respect them for that. It takes a lot out of them too"
Harris added that he uses the two sports to help his conditioning. The pre-conditioning for track, Harris notes, helps his stamina and explosiveness in baseball. But balancing two sports allows him to blow off some steam after a frustrating day.
"The cool thing about doing both is when I have an off-day in baseball I get to come out here and do my thing in track. And it's just a lot of pressure comes off of me, really."
The long jumper and second baseman credits his coaches for allowing him to delay the inevitable; the day when he will have to pick one sports. Until that day comes though, he'll continue to follow his two passions.
February 25, 2012 6 photos