Thursday, May 24, 2018
Sports

Newsome's Patrick Jolly juggles football, track with aplomb

LITHIA — Feet hit the track. Legs churn around the turns. The air is heavy and hot. It's the first week of May.

Newsome's Patrick Jolly is running.

He stops after several sprints. Catches a quick swig on a water bottle. Changes shoes. Trots to a spot behind the goal posts. He marks off steps. He runs up and leaps.

Jolly is high jumping.

He stops after several leaps. Catches a quick swig on a water bottle. Changes shoes. Trots toward the practice field behind the track. Straps on pads and a helmet. Takes some handoffs. Catches some passes.

Jolly is playing football.

He has pretty much done this every day since spring football practice began April 24.

And it has made his coaches very happy.

"I'm all for him doing both track and football," Newsome football coach Ken Hiscock said. "I say if you have a chance to do multiple sports you have to do it. For Jolly, it would be wrong for him not to do both sports because he's so talented at both of them."

Newsome track coach Kevin Sharpe said he loves that Jolly has a chance "to perform at both sports."

"Me, too," said Jolly. "I like to have a lot of things going on. I like variety. I like different challenges."

Which helps explain that in track this year he competed in four events — the 200 meters, the high jump, the long jump and the 4x400 relay — and excelled at all of them.

While in football, he plays full time at running back (86 carries, 797 yards in 2016), free safety and kick returner and gets some part-time work as a receiver.

For all these reasons, Iowa State, Iowa and USF are among the many schools seeking his services, definitely in football and probably for both track and football.

"I'm still weighing my options on all that," said Jolly, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound rising senior. "We'll see how it works in the coming months."

But first things first: the Class 4A state meet on Friday in Bradenton. There on the IMG Academy track, Jolly will compete in the 200 meters (after a personal-best 21.96 seconds at regionals) and the high jump (personal-best 6-6).

In the long jump, Jolly missed qualifying for state by a few inches, and the Newsome 4x400 team, which did qualify, may choose not to compete because the Wolves are seeded 11th and prom conflicts with the running of the event.

For Jolly, that's okay because now he can concentrate on his two best events.

"It will be interesting to see how I can do competing in just those two events because at every other track meet I'm juggling four events, which keeps a lot on your mind," Jolly said. "In both the 200 and the high jump I think I can go a lot faster and a lot higher.

"I don't think I've come near my best yet."

State champion?

"If things go just right, I think I have a shot (particularly in the high jump)," Jolly said. "All I can do is give it everything I have and then see what happens."

Then, of course, after the weekend, it's back to football practice on Monday.

"Can't wait," Jolly said. "Love it."

 
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