In order to for some of our area teams to succeed, there’s needs to be multi-sport athletes. But further than that, there’s a few athletes (Tyler Petroski, Max Brumett, Ryan Miller, Gabby Warren just to name a few) that are multi-sport athletes in the same season.
There is another athlete for Crawfordsville who has gone above and beyond this fall for the Athenians. Sophomore Caroline Novak runs both Cross Country and is one of the leaders for the Athenian girls soccer team which is wrapping up a very successful season.
The Athenian soccer team is currently 8-6 on the season and coming off its first county title since 2014. Novak is second on the team with seven goals and has a team-high10 assists. Cville girls soccer coach Alex Ehrlich has taken notice of Novak’s two sports this fall and has high praise for her work ethic in both sports.
“Caroline is a very physical leader for us on the soccer field and really knows the game very well,” Ehrlich said. “She’s someone that pushes everyone in practice and that’s rare to see in someone who is only a sophomore. Throughout the entire soccer season she’s busted her tail off trying to get better. She’s been in the weight room with some of the football boys and that shows you right there her dedication and drive to get better.”
Flash back to Sept. 13 and that will be a day that sticks out for both Athenian soccer and XC fans alike. Novak certainly remembers that day. The girls soccer team has a home match against South Vermillion that night. Also that same night also at CHS was the cross country county meet. So what did Novak choose to do? Well both actually. She played the first 40 minutes of the soccer match before sprinting over to change into her cross country uniform to run the full 5K for the Athenians. Novak scored a goal in those first 40 minutes and also helped her XC team defend their county title. Safe to say it was a night she’ll remember for sometime.
“It was pretty cool to be able to score a goal before I had to go over to the cross country meet,” Novak noted with a smile. “I knew that if I did that my name would be in the announcements twice. I was trying to save most of my energy for cross country because county is obviously a big meet for us. After running the XC meet I was really tired but it was worth it because I was able to help both teams that night.”
While soccer is Novak’s passion, she got started running XC because of her older sister. Finding the time to balance both sports while also finding time for school can be tough, but it’s a challenge that Novak hasn’t shined away from.
“Over the summer I had morning practices for both sports,” Novak said. “Cross Country would be from 7-9 then soccer from 10-11:30. I would typically just go home and eat lunch, take a shower then want to fall asleep for the rest of the day. When school started that’s when the juggling of both practices really gets more difficult. I’d be able to play soccer throughout the week usually then have a XC meet on Saturday. It’s time consuming for sure but I’ve done a good job finding a way to balance both.”
The Athenian cross country team is a fairly young one this season. Longtime Cville coach Megan Craig, just like Ehrlich, knows it’s not easy to balance the load that Novak does.
“Caroline is an extremely hard working student athlete that contributes in any way that she can to help the athletic programs at CHS,” Craig said. “Academically she excels in the classroom and is still able to balance the high demands of her busy schedule.”
Ehrlich remembers that night that his star sophomore competed in both of her sports and he and the entire girls soccer team was there to support her.
“I told her to score quickly and that I wanted a hat trick from her,” Ehrlich said jokingly. “Seriously she was able to get the game started well for us and that’s what we try and do is get out to good starts and score fast. She made it back over to our game after she ran and I was joking around with her that she needs to put her soccer jersey back on. The great thing about a player like Caroline is if she had it on her, she would have changed and went back into the game. The fact that she’s able to play both of these sports that require a great deal of endurance is insane. I never hear complain about her schedule or anything like that. She’s a girl who knows what she wants to accomplish and I’m proud to be her coach and am excited for what she’s going to bring the next two years.”
Novak has one final regular season soccer game left with the Athenians. It’s Saturday at home against Frankfort. A Cville win would give the Athenians a 3rd place finish in the Sagamore Conference and a 9-6 record heading into next week’s sectional. Whether it be running in cross country or being a leader on the pitch, Novak has already made an impact with both her Athenian teams this fall. The future is bright for this do-it-all