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Heron balances multiple sports and academics

Monday, April 7, 2008  
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By Chad Hartwell

At the end of a four month season, most basketball players are given time off before beginning offseason work outs. But Oklahoma Christian University junior Charlotte Heron doesn't receive a break as she immediately starts her season as a high-jumper.

Practices for basketball and track do not overlap so Heron participates in both sports without incurring conflicts in practices.

"I don't start track until after basketball season," Heron said. "But I do have to continue weight training and shooting for basketball."

According to assistant track coach Jeff Bennett, the coaches consider basketball to be Heron's first priority.

"The way we look at it, she is a basketball player first and anything she does in track is a bonus," Bennett said. "We wait until basketball is over to start her out, and then, we get her back in the groove on her technique."

Heron said it is really not too hard to keep up with all of this, but there is a transition period when moving from one sport to the other.

"It is quite hard to transition my body because the change in sports does hurt my body, but after two weeks or so, I am used to the change," Heron said.

Fellow teammate, junior Haley Myers, thinks this is more difficult than Heron admits.

"It is difficult to participate in two sports because the athlete is never given a break," Myers said. "Once one sport is over, they jump right in to the next one."

Heron's coaches understand getting the best out of the two sport athlete can take time.

"It's a matter of time for her to get the rust off of her technique in a relatively short period of time," Bennett said. "This week, they finished basketball, and in the same week, there was a track meet."

Bennett does think that it's difficult to reach your full potential when you are participating in two sports.

"If she was in one or the other, she could be better, but at the same time, she is able to handle both of them," Bennett said.

Teammates believe Heron handles this very well and gives both sports all she has while at the same time, keeping up with her school work as well.

"Charlotte's strong work ethic allows her to balance her time with two sports as well as school work," Myers said.

Bennett also attributes Heron's success to her hard work.

"She is a highly competitive young lady," Bennett said. "I think what makes her successful is her drive."

Heron scored 124 points for the Lady Eagles this year averaging four points per game.

She also led the team in rebounds, averaging 5.64 rebounds per game.

In 2007 Heron was a NAIA All-American for outdoor track. This past weekend at the Oklahoma Baptist Invitational she placed second in the high jump.

Heron came to Oklahoma Christian from Southampton, England, where her family resides. She misses her family but is used to being apart from them

"It is especially hard at Christmas because I can only get home for a week, and I would like to be home for a little longer during that time," Heron said. "Apart from that, I am used to it now so it really doesn't affect me too much."

However, after graduation, the political science major does plan to return home to England where she plans to further her education.

"I will have been here for six years when I graduate, so I'll be ready to go home," Heron said. "I plan to go home and get a Master's degree after I graduate."

She does not plan to quit sports after graduation from college. In addition to her education, Heron hopes to continue playing basketball as well.

"I will continue basketball after graduation because the 2012 Olympics are in London, so the UK team is automatically entered," Heron said. "I have been playing for England since I was twelve, so I might be playing in the Olympics."

Heron says she plans to continue to high jump after graduation also, but most likely, it will be just for fun.

Before she leaves Oklahoma Christian, Heron does have goals she would like to obtain in both sports.

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