Brett’s balancing act: Dickinson senior Brett Braunagel hopes to juggle baseball, track and fieldAs an increasing number of student-athletes eschew competing in multiple sports in favor of concentrating on one or two, Brett Braunagel is going against the grain.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
As an increasing number of student-athletes eschew competing in multiple sports in favor of concentrating on one or two, Brett Braunagel is going against the grain.
Today, the Dickinson High senior’s effort to compete in two spring sports at the same time begins. Braunagel is a member of both the Midgets’ baseball and track and field teams.
Sound difficult? It will be.
“It’s tough to do,” Dickinson track and field co-head coach Jay Schobinger said.
Doing both sports isn’t new to Braunagel. He balanced baseball and track and field as a freshman and sophomore but played only baseball last season.
As a sophomore, he placed in three events at the Class A state track and field meet and was on the school-record setting 800-meter relay team.
Then, however, he was also playing junior varsity baseball. Now he’s a regular starter in the outfield and one of the team’s speediest base runners, sometimes batting leadoff.
“This is where it kind of is different,” Braunagel said. “It’s varsity. It’s where they need you to be there.”
Today, both teams need Braunagel — and he expects to be very busy because of it.
This morning he will be at school just long enough to meet up with the track and field team before heading to the Badlands Activities Center for the Carlson Booster Meet, which starts at 9:30 a.m.
There, he will run in the 3,200-meter relay and compete in the long jump.
Just before noon, he will join the Dickinson baseball team and hop on a bus bound for Bismarck and the team’s season-opening game against Bismarck Century that starts at 3:30 p.m. MDT.
“I think it’s fun,” Braunagel said. “It might be more stressful on the coaches then me.”
Schobinger admits he and Dickinson head baseball coach Pete Dobitz have had their reservations about Braunagel’s decision. But he said it has been done before, and commends Braunagel for being willing to try.
“It becomes a major juggling act, and trying to do what’s best for three things,” Schobinger said. “What’s best for Dickinson baseball, Dickinson track and Brett Braunagel. We also have to understand he’s a student first. There’s a lot of give-and-take in the situation.”
After today, there are five additional conflicts for the baseball and track teams. A notable one comes May 5 when Dickinson hosts the Coca-Cola track and field meet at the BAC and the baseball team plays Century at Southside Municipal Ballpark.
The biggest conflict, however, comes the final weekend in May when the West Region baseball tournament in Williston coincides with the Class A state track and field meet in Bismarck.
“You know, we’re sacrificing a little bit,” Dickinson head baseball coach Pete Dobitz said. “But so is Schobinger for allowing him to play games for us. It’s awesome to see a kid try and do two sports at one time. You’ve got to give him a lot of credit.”
Braunagel knows the next six weeks could be difficult and stressful at times. However, he said being a part of both teams is something he wants and knows he has to try even though he knows the possibility exists that it may not work.
“I want to help both teams, but I don’t want to end up giving up on the teams,” Braunagel said. “I’m thinking it’ll work though.”