May 25—Jaecan Fratzke and Cayden Holcomb don’t know each other very well.
But when it comes to their high school athletics careers, they have a lot in common.
Fratzke, a senior at Century, and Holcomb, a junior at Mayo, played football and basketball for their respective schools during the 2020-21 season. This spring, they’re pulling double duty by competing in both baseball and track and field.
Fratzke and Holcomb have a common ground in each spring sport as well as. They are both starting center fielders in baseball and have elite speed in track.
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Fratzke started playing baseball at a young age. In eighth grade, he took on track for the first time.
“Once I got to high school, I didn’t think I could do both so I just ended up playing baseball,” he said.
But his sprinter’s speed attracted the Panthers’ track coaches. Fratzke was working out with the track team as well in 2020, but all of spring sports were cancelled due to COVID-19. So this marks the first time he has done both baseball and track and field in the same season.
“I enjoy doing it, it’s a lot of fun and I get to hang out with all different sorts of people,” Fratzke said. “But it takes up a lot of my time. It’s hard to find time to do school work, that’s for sure. And I have less free time, but it’s definitely worth it. It’s a fun experience.”
Holcomb’s first love in sports is football and he is an elite wide receiver and defensive back for Mayo. Track and field was a natural sport to help with his football skills, but he also started playing baseball at a young age.
“I never really wanted to quit doing it,” Holcomb said of playing baseball.
Now he’s thankful to get a chance to play two sports in one season.
“It’s a lot of fun to feel like Deion Sanders, like he played a football game in one day and went over and played baseball,” Holcomb said. “So that’s really fun to do, to sometimes go from a track meet to a baseball practice, or game, after.”
Both athletes were able to work out a situation with their spring coaches to compete in two sports.
“We just worked it out with the track coaches before the season,” Century baseball coach Todd Stellmaker said, “what meets they had that were important and what games we had and if any overlapped. There’s only been a couple so far.”
“He’s (Holcomb) missed some track for baseball and some baseball for track,” Mayo baseball coach Tom Senne said. “We just kind of work on the schedule and hope realistically there’s not too much conflict.”
Holcomb also competed in track and field and baseball as a freshman in 2019. The 2020 season for both sports was cancelled.
“It’s good for him that he gets to play the sports he wants to play and it’s obviously beneficial for our team,” Senne said. “And he does a great job for track as well.”
Holcomb and Fratzke have to juggle their schedule plenty to compete in two sports, do school work and manage a social life. Both usually attend a track and baseball practice on non-event days. Mayo has baseball practice right after school so Holcomb heads there first to practice for awhile before joining the track and field squad.
“It’s a challenge, but we found a way to even them out and not make it so stressful going to both of them,” Holcomb said.
Fratzke usually starts with a track workout and then heads over to baseball practice.
“It’s a little tricky,” Fratzke said. He goes to track practice right after school and then heads to baseball practice around 4:30 p.m. “I have time to do both, but when there’s games I obviously can’t make it to practice.”
It can be frustrating if they have both a baseball game and track and field meet on the same day.
“Yeah it is, plus I’m in a little bit of a slump right now in baseball so it sucks not to be able to get all of the reps,” Holcomb said.
“It hasn’t been too bad, I’ve been hitting pretty good this year,” Fratzke said. “But it’s definitely different without as much practice.”
Fratzke is a long jumper and sprinter in track. He said working on handoffs for relays is tough and sometimes the most work by relay members comes on the day of a meet.
Mayo and Century are both currently under .500 in baseball with section play close at hand. A state berth for either could be unlikely. But Holcomb, a pole vaulter, hurdler and sprinter, and Fratzke could land a state berth in track and field.
“State’s definitely the priority, the goal,” Holcomb said
“The relays, we’re definitely looking to go to state there,” Fratzke said. He also excelled in just his second long jump of the season, going over 21 feet, 7 inches.
They also hope there are no conflicting dates in the postseason for the two sports.
Once the season has concluded, Holcomb and Fratzke will have a unique tale of their sports career in the future.
“I’m just really thankful for the opportunity that both of my coaches gave me to be able to do both of them like that,” Holcomb said. “It’s really fun.”
“To be able to give a high school kid a chance to make some memories doing a couple of different things, he’s doing something unique that not very many people can do,” Stellmaker said. “I think that’s kind of a neat deal.”