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Area feature: Sharing the wealth

Randy Rice and Shane Robinson started this school year sharing coaching duties on the Midway-Minto football team. Now they're closing the school year sharing athletes on different teams.

Randy Rice and Shane Robinson started this school year sharing coaching duties on the Midway-Minto football team. Now they're closing the school year sharing athletes on different teams.

Rice coaches Midway-Minto's boys track team. Robinson is the Midway-Minto baseball coach. Six athletes are competing on both teams this spring.

"We've always had kids doing both sports," Rice said. "But this is the first time I can remember us having this many kids doing it.

"It can make things a little stressful. If kids pick one sport, you know who's going to be where. Now, on days we have region baseball games and track meets, we send them to baseball. If there is a non-region baseball game and a track meet, we'll send them to track. So we're scrambling to figure out who is on what relay team."

Three of the athletes are regulars on the Mustangs' 4-1 baseball team. Pitcher-catcher Nathan Linstad (.353) bats second in the lineup. Philip Schanilec, who is temporarily sidelined with a thumb injury, starts in the outfield and bats sixth, hitting .333. and outfielder Aaron Vaudrin (.200) is eighth in the lineup. Linstad is 1-0 on the mound, striking out 21 in 10 innings with a 1.40 earned run average.

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Those three, along with fellow baseball player Patrick Moreland, run together on 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams that have been very competitive in track meets this spring.

Those are familiar athletic names in Midway-Minto. Schanilec was a second-team all-state pick in basketball this winter. He, Linstad and Vaudrin were starters, with Moreland coming off the bench, on the Mustangs' basketball team that finished fourth in the Region 2 tournament.

"They're kids who want to be involved in things," Robinson said. "We have very good athletes. And they have a competitive edge. They want to try different things. And they want to not just do something, but to go out and win at it."

Linstad said that, if forced to make a choice, most of the spring two-sport athletes who play baseball.

"It's the sport most of us like best," Linstad said. "But we thought we could have a good track team. It's fun, with a lot of guys out. We feel we have some relays that will be contenders (in the Region 2 meet). And we feel we can be really good in baseball, too.

"Being in track helps us in baseball as far as conditioning."

The schedule can be demanding.

For the three Midway baseball-track athletes, they work out for track mornings before school starts. Then, on days when there are no games or meets, they head to Minto for after-school baseball practices. The Minto athletes can get their track training in after school is out and before baseball practice begins.

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"Days can get long," Linstad said. "Especially with homework at the end of the day. You can get tired. And we miss some classes -- that can be a hassle, especially doing the makeup homework."

Rice said the athletes miss out on some track conditioning, as well as some repetitions in baseball practices. But athletes can excel -- Rice has had two baseball players who also were state track qualifiers in Vaudrin and Alan Sitzer.

"You have to have natural ability," Rice said. "But you also have to be willing to work hard and put in the time to get the best out of that ability."

DeVillers reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1128; (800) 477-6572, ext. 128; or send e-mail to gdevillers@gfherald.com .

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