One of the rarest things in sports is a successful two-sport athlete. Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders made names for themselves by excelling at the highest level in two sports.
While their accomplishments may be impressive, there is one thing that these athletes did not do: They didn't play both sports in the same season.
That's exactly what Saucon Valley's (Hellertown, Pa.) Alyssa Lombardo, did. She competed in both varsity track and field and played softball in the same season. The rising junior didn't just sit on the bench with the softball team or fill a role on the track team -- she's a star in both sports. She'll quietly blow by you in the 400-meter run or slap a single through the infield and then sneak in a stolen base while you're blinking.
Alyssa made her varsity cross country and track teams at Saucon Valley as a freshman, and has won numerous awards in both sports. She helped the cross country team win the Colonial League and District Championships her freshman and sophomore years.
Her freshman year, Lombardo was the District 11 champion in the 400-meter sprint, set a new District 11 record time,and finished in seventh place in the state track meet. As a sophomore, she was the 100-, 200- and 400-meter Colonial League Champion and anchored the 1600-meter relay to a first place finish. She then went on to break her own record in the District 11 championships and won a gold medal at the state track championships in the 400m with a personal best 55.73 seconds.
Saucon Valley has a "dual sport" policy, which allows athletes to compete in two sports in the same season. So, while she was breaking records on the track, she was also starring on the softball diamond. In 2009, she was selected first-team all-league and first-team all-area after leading her league in batting average (.481), stolen bases (25), and runs scored (37).
As if that wasn't enough, she has a 4.35 GPA, is a member of the National Honor Society and is a junior black belt in karate.
Lombardo said she considers herself a student first and an athlete second.
She recently went to the Team NJ Tournament and Combine and proved that her stats aren't just hype. She impressed college coaches with her speed on the bases, as well as with her hitting and fielding skills. Lombardo knew she had to make the most of the opportunity to showcase her skills at this tournament.
"The Team NJ Tournament is the best tournament on the East Coast that attracts the elite Division I softball coaches and gives us East Coast girls the chance to be noticed," she said. "The experience of seeing all these coaches was both exciting and inspiring. I had to keep reminding myself that playing in this tournament only comes once as a sophomore and I had to make it count and leave lasting impressions."
Alyssa accomplished her goals; she proved herself to be a dedicated student-athlete.