WHITEFISH — It used to be that young athletes were encouraged by coaches to focus on one sport. This was in large part due to the fear of injury.
But that was then. Now, college coaches are looking to add kids who play multiple sports during high school to their programs.
That is music to the ears of Columbia Falls junior Mason Peters, who excels in football, basketball and baseball.
“It’s tough especially with homework and right now trying to get work in with other sports at the same time,” Peters said.
Peters doesn't just play all three sports -- he dominates them. He was all-conference in baseball and second team all-conference in football. Glacier Twins manager Kevin Slaybaugh says Peters is one of the most athletic kids he has ever coached and is able to put him in any position on the field.
“I don't know what his path will be but I can almost guarantee you he will be playing a sport in college. He's got to be one of the top guys I have ever coached,” Slaybaugh said.
One of the things coaches used to think was that multi-sport athletes were prone to injury. Now through numerous studies, research shows they actually get injured less often.
“It's important for you to be really diversified when you're younger, you use different muscles for different sports, and you're more well-rounded,” Slaybaugh said.
Peters, the star quarterback at Columbia Falls, can play any position on the court and diamond, but that is the physical part. Mentally, playing multiple sports also helps, especially in the leadership department. Last year Peters was named teammate of the year in football.
“So in each sport depending on how the team is doing and how we are getting along it will change a little bit but I just try to bring a lot of energy to every practice and every game to be a leader,” Peters said.
Even though right now he excels in all three, there may be a time where he has to make a choice.
“I think it’s going to be baseball. I am really enjoying it these past few years and I was about eight or nine when I first started travel baseball and a lot of my friends I made are still playing with me today. I made really good connections and just really enjoy the sport,“ Peters said.