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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Track & Field

Athletes sport two games

The extra wear on the bodies of two-sport athletes such as Tyron Carrier and Isaiah Sweeney is more than balanced by a deep sense of accomplishment. | Travis Hensley/The Daily Cougar

Two of the UH track and field teams’ most explosive sprinters, junior Tyron Carrier and sophomore Isaiah Sweeney, carry a heavier burden than most athletes.

The pair of wide receivers begin their day at 5 a.m., spending their mornings at off-season football practice. In the afternoon, after class, they hit the track.

Carrier qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships last season, and Sweeney is a consistent contender in the sprints and long jump events. Football remains their primary sport, however, and demands time away from the track and studying.

“Doing both football and track, it puts a lot of pressure on your legs and wears them out,” Sweeny said. “It’s two different kinds of sprints, so when me and Tyron go from football to track, our legs feel real tight and aren’t stretched out enough.

“During football, with off-season lifting and track practice in the afternoon, it really puts a pounding on your legs.”

Carrier said running track enhances his ability to evade defenders on the gridiron.

“In football, our routes are never over 30 yards; in track, we’re running 200s and 400s (meters) — that takes a lot out of you. We’re not used to it, coming out of football,” Carrier said. “Most guys don’t know how to run in football. Track teaches you the correct way to run, while using less motion.”

With the spring football schedule conflicting with the outdoor track season, Carrier has a sense of urgency for the Cougars’ first meet: the UCF Invitational in Orlando, Fla. on March 20.

“Coming out of spring ball, we don’t have many meets left. We need to get out there and make qualifying times early,” Carrier said.

For Sweeney, participating in both sports has changed his outlook on each. The two athletes said they have a passion for both sports, making it difficult to choose a favorite.
“During football season, I love track,” Sweeny said. “During track season, I love football.”

Carrier, the Conference-USA Indoor runner-up in the 60-meter dash and 200-meter, says the 200 is his favorite race. Sweeney prefers the 100-meter and 60-meter dash.

Carrier, 21, attended Worthing High School and is a social sciences major. Sweeney, 19, graduated from Hightower and is majoring in business. The two sprinters juggled even more activities in high school, as each pitched for their respective baseball teams. Carrier also played basketball.

Carrier said he simply didn’t have a personality that fit baseball, but still misses his days on the mound.

“Baseball is more of a patient sport, and I’m impatient,” Carrier said. “I think if I stuck with baseball, though, things would be better for me right now.”

Carrier and Sweeney will likely be featured on the 4×100-meter relay team throughout the second half of the outdoor season. When asked what events they would like to try for fun, they both said pole vault.

But don’t expect head coach Leroy Burrell to give his approval.

“They can just forget it,” Burrell said. “Don’t even think about it.”

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