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‘Rare option’

First dual-sport athlete in more than a decade at Memorial

Student Life

By Ryan Howell

You would be hard-pressed to find a busier student than Alyssa Jenkins.

The first-year Sea-Hawk holds the rare title of dual-sport athlete, the first at Memorial in more than a decade.

No need to choose

Ms. Jenkins is a mid-fielder on the pitch for the soccer team and a guard on the court in basketball.

She says she is thankful for the opportunity to not have to choose one sport over the other.

“One of the main reasons I chose the Sea-Hawks over other universities was the fact that they were giving me the chance to play both sports I love,” she said.

“Not having to make the choice between them is a very rare option.”

The choice to stay at home in St. John’s was an extra bonus.

“I did have interest from other schools and had contemplated travelling for my undergraduate degree. But, the opportunity to remain home with my family and friends was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.”

Balancing act

Playing two sports and balancing the commitments of both can be challenging, she says, but Ms. Jenkins prioritizes based on the season.

Two soccer players, one in a red uniform and one in a white uniform, are chasing a soccer ball on the field.
Alyssa Jenkins (No. 16, red) fights for position against a Mount Allison Mounties player.
Photo: Allison Wragg

During soccer season, that takes priority and she attends all games, practices and travels with the team while accommodating basketball as much as possible.

When soccer season ends, basketball becomes the priority while still attending as many team events as possible.

Her coaches, Mike Power (soccer) and Mark English (basketball), are supportive of her, she says, and they regularly discuss her schedule and priorities to prevent her from falling behind on anything.

Unique situation

In keeping with the double duty theme, Ms. Jenkins is completing two degrees at Memorial: a bachelor of commerce (co-operative) and a bachelor of arts (French).

“Playing two sports is challenging enough, but adding five university courses on top of it makes it that much harder,” she said with a laugh.

“It is definitely difficult training every day and travelling on the weekends while studying and keeping on top of my courses. I want to do really well in my courses, and all of my professors have been very accommodating.”

A balancing act

As for her athletic ambitions this season, she says both the soccer and basketball teams aim to win the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) playoffs, all the while growing together as a team.

When she’s not found playing her own sports or hitting the books, she helps coach her former high school Waterford Valley High’s basketball team.

This year is proving to be a master class in time management, she says, and despite a love of sports, Ms. Jenkins says the main reason she’s at Memorial is to get an education.

“Academics will always come before sports, but if I’m able to balance it all, I will continue doing both throughout my university years.”

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