The beautiful game, America’s past time. These two sports do not coincide much; here at UMHB, however, they have one thing in common, Tyler Wicks.
College sports are a growing phenomenon. Countless adolescent athletes only dream of playing college ball. A select few do, but only an elite breed of versatile athletes is blessed with the opportunity to play two sports.
“It takes a special person to play two sports at the college level,” said baseball head coach Derek Dunaway, “but … he’s one of those special guys that can do it.”
The sophomore sport management major from Wills Point, Texas, has an insatiable thirst for sports. Wicks lettered in football, baseball, basketball, tennis and track at Wills Point High School and played club soccer throughout.
Given his resume, one sport obviously was not going to satiate his craving for team sports, and he could only realize those dreams at a school like UMHB.
“I love soccer and baseball. I feel like if I went anywhere else I wouldn’t be able to do both,” Wicks said.
Initially he joined the Cru to play soccer, his first love. However, his career as a college athlete would immediately take a turn for the worse within the first week of his freshman year. A minute and a half into a scrimmage, Wicks agitated a previous injury.
He underwent light rehab and was given the OK to return, but it did not take long for him to realize that something was wrong.
An MRI revealed a minor tear of the medial cruciate ligament and complete tears of both his meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. His season was over before it even got a chance to begin; surgery would bench him for four months.
Needless to say, the season was over when he got back on his feet, but he had to stay active.
Wicks began working out with his roommate Garrett Kinney, a freshman also from Wills Point competing for the catcher position on the baseball team. Kinney soon persuaded Wicks to go out for the baseball team. They needed a pinch runner, and he needed to compete.
He was added to the roster mid-season and finished out the season playing outfield for the Cru, competing for the baseball team before he even wore a soccer jersey for the Cru.
School let out, summer passed and fall arrived. Wicks picked up soccer as though he had never stopped. He was moved to defensive center midfielder and even scored two goals to earn his title as a starter.
Wicks did not participate in the fall season for baseball, but is splitting time this spring with spring soccer and the baseball season.
“He loves being around a team, and he loves team sports, and he’ll work his tail off and that’s what makes Tyler kind of special. He is a hard worker,” explained soccer head Coach Brad Bankhead.
It’s a real feat to play two sports, but Wicks does not stop there. He sets an example for his teammates by maintaining a 3.25 grade point average despite practice, travel and all of the distractions that come with being in college.
“If you love the game, you are going to do what you have to do on the field and then off the field,” Wicks said in expressing the priority that he takes in his schoolwork.
He is an incredible athlete with a heart to compete, whether he’s wearing shin guards or batting gloves. He’s got what it takes to be a successful athlete in two areas of ASC Division III athletics. Both of his coaches expressed their pride in him and are willing to share him if he wishes to continue to live the lives of two college athletes in his four years here at UMHB.