It is common for high school students to play more than one sport throughout the year.
But practice several sports during the same season? It’s anything but common.
Meet Kieryn Jeter, a sophomore at Forsyth Central who will be looking to make her mark on the Bulldogs’ soccer and athletics programs this spring.
Jeter burst onto the track scene last year as a rookie, winning a 6-7A region championship in the 400 meters and finishing fifth in the event at the Class 7A state championships. She also finished second in the 200 meters at the regional meet and set school records in that event, the 400 meters, the 4×100 relay and the 4×400 relay.
It was his first year on the racetrack.
“I knew I was fast, but I didn’t know I would go this far,” Jeter said. “It was amazing. I was going with the flow, running as fast as I could at each track and seeing what was going to be next.”
Jeter is a footballer at heart. She started playing soccer at the age of 5, but didn’t try out for Central’s soccer team last year, opting instead to focus on the track while playing club soccer with Tophat SC.
“When people ask me if I like football or if I’m better, I say football,” Jeter said. “I’ve played all my life and I love it. Both are team sports, and track is also an individual sport, so you also have to focus on yourself. In football you can count more on your teammates. It’s just more fun.”
There are similarities between soccer and track.
As an attacking fullback, she uses her speed to counter attackers, but also to turn the pitch and put pressure on opposition defences.
“You have to be fast in both, but for football there is more rest,” Jeter said. “For my position, you run back and forth on the touchline a lot, but I would say you’re not really focused on the run. You’re more focused on the ball and where it’s moving and how you’re going. getting the ball from her to you. For the track it’s definitely different. You don’t have to focus on the ball.
Jeter coordinates her schedule with Central women’s soccer coach Angela Camp and Central athletics coach Scott Walker, who are instrumental in Jeter’s ability to juggle both sports.
“The main reason I can do both is because of the support from my coaches,” Jeter said. “Without their support and knowing that I can do both well, I wouldn’t be able to. Also, other athletes want to do high school athletics and high school football, but they can’t because their school doesn’t allow it. I have to tell my coaches regularly and every week if I’m going to practice football one day or follow one day – or both. I usually do it on the weekends.
This is in addition to his other weekend obligations, which include homework and travel to football camps.
“I just have to take every chance I have, especially at school if we finish an assignment early and I can do assignments for other classes,” Jeter said. “The other kids don’t enjoy it, but I really have to do it this year because I don’t have enough time at home. Even just to drive home, I like to study.”
In class, Jeter maintains a GPA of 4.0 and received the AP Scholar certificate in September for earning a GPA above 3.75 and passing at least three out of three or more AP exams. She is also involved with the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter and serves as a student ambassador.
Jeter said she plans to become a pediatrician and hopes to play professional football before that.
His most immediate goal is to help Central’s women’s soccer team qualify for the Class 7A playoffs and run the 400 meters in under 57 seconds.
She ran a 57.27 last season at the state meet, finishing behind three seniors and a sophomore.
“I was nervous, but it was also exciting as a freshman who was going to say this was my first time doing track,” Jeter said. “It’s a big thing that will stay with me. Everyone was surprised and wanted to talk to me, but it was a really great experience and I hope to do that for the rest of the years I’m here.”
Count Jeter among those surprised that she qualified for the state competition as a freshman.
“I was really surprised,” Jeter said with a laugh. “I didn’t know I would go this far, even though I knew I was fast.”
Jeter set the bar high as a freshman, but even juggling two sports at the same time, she hopes to eclipse that mark. She doesn’t have to look far to get motivated.
“If someone runs faster than me when we do a drill or workout, that motivates me,” she said. “I think it should motivate everyone, honestly. It makes me want to go faster and push myself.”