Girls soccer: Pumas’ Roda, McMenamin mastering spring shuffle

Katie McMenamin, left, and Galen Roda are both key members of the powerful Peak to Peak soccer team, but both also are returning state qualifiers in their other respective spring sports. McMenamin is a distance runner in track, while Roda also plays tennis for the Pumas.

Meet Galen Roda. Soccer player, tennis player, juggler.

Introducing Katie McMenamin. Soccer player, track athlete, juggler.

The springtime symbolizes hectic, nonstop action for each Peak to Peak athlete, both of whom star in multiple sports.

While multisport athletes are common at the high school level, Roda and McMenamin do it with an added twist. Not only is each athlete performing at a state level in each of her sports, but doing so during the same season.

Hence the juggling.

“I’d say the whole year is busy because I’ve doubled up in sports every season,” Roda said. “But spring I think is even harder because I have (advanced placement) tests and finals on top of everything. It’s my busy time and I have to buckle down.”

Roda is a sweeper on the Pumas soccer squad that finished runner-up in Class 3A last season. In tennis, she has forever etched her name into school lore by becoming part of the Pumas’ first state-qualifying doubles team last year. In the tennis program’s inaugural season, Roda and No. 3 doubles partner Rachel Reeser were the only Pumas to qualify.

McMenamin, a senior, also is a key midfielder on the soccer team and qualified for state in several track events last season. After primarily competing as a distance runner in the past, she has ambitions of qualifying in multiple events this season so she can choose which four to run at state.

As one might guess, sometimes the schedules conflict.

“It’s OK in some ways because they kind of overlap,” McMenamin said. “Soccer gets you in shape for running. Last year, I didn’t go to any track practices, I just went to meets. This year, I wanted to focus on track a bit more so I’m going to two track practices a week.”

Soccer coach Peter Chandler, who doubles as Peak to Peak’s athletic director, allows leeway for Roda and McMenamin to make it work. He leaves the door open for all athletes at the school to partake in as many sports as they can handle.

It can be frustrating at times, because it’s hard to develop set pieces at soccer practices if two key cogs are missing.

“You try and explain that to the other kids on the team that so-and-so is a starter, but they are playing both sports and I’m trying to allow that to happen,” Chandler said. “But they’re not just missing practice. They’re working hard elsewhere, and it might be on the track right next to us.”

Soccer players seldom complain about the situation, receptive to the notion that Roda and McMenamin aren’t in slack-mode while away.

“The only time it was a problem was last year, when the state quarterfinal game was the same time as state track,” McMenamin said. “I had a relay I’d qualified for in track, and if I didn’t go, the team couldn’t run. I tried to explain that I was going to that, because the relay team couldn’t do it with out me but the soccer team could. That sort of made a lot of drama.”

The soccer game ended up being moved to later in the evening and McMenamin was able to play. It was a can’t-win situation, because some seniors were upset about having to miss their night of reflection, which was scheduled during new game time.

“This year will be really intense because graduation is the same day as semifinals for soccer and the third day of state track,” McMenamin said.

Adding to the complications at Peak to Peak is the notion that all the teams and athletes in question are performing at an upper-echelon level. If the soccer team wasn’t a state-title threat, what would it matter when the deeper rounds of the playoffs were scheduled?

And is it safe to consider Roda unavailable on May 10-12? That’s when the Class 4A state tennis meet takes place in Pueblo.

“She’s a good athlete, so any sport that she focuses on she could do very well in,” Pumas tennis coach Billy Downs said. “In tennis, she goes after everything and fights for every ball. But I know soccer is her passion.”

Roda’s motor never fully shuts off. She competes in cross country and club soccer in the fall and partakes in both swimming and diving in the winter.

Now fully entrenched in her busiest season of all, her competitive side is keeping her at peak efficiency. The dangling rewards are another crack at state in both tennis and soccer.

“It feels really good just knowing that the effort I’m putting in is paying off,” Roda said. “Especially because it’s so time consuming to do both.”

She and McMenamin seem to be juggling rather well.

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