There are two words for two-sport athletes in collegiate athletics: determination and discipline. Sure, it takes talent, but it’s also double the commitment. At Kennesaw State, Adam Watkins and Tykeem Wallace embody the characteristics it takes to juggle not one, but two sports at the Division 1 level.
Watkins lines up on the defensive line for Owl football and is a thrower for track and field, while Wallace is a running back in the fall and a sprinter in the spring.
To balance both sports as well as school, they focus on prioritizing their time and locking into every practice, assignment, class, and game. While they both admit it’s not easy, they each agree that the rewards far outweigh the extreme effort that goes into being a two-sport athlete.
“It’s definitely hard,” explained Watkins. “You have limited free time and have to make sure you are always locked in.”
For Wallace, he says what he does outside of practice makes it work.
“I try to focus on my nutrition, rehab and meeting with my academic advisor,” he said. “This helps me excel on and off the field.”
As they gear up for the first home game of the season this Saturday against Wofford, they’re focused exclusively on their football goals.
“I’m looking forward to the fans packing ‘The Bank’ and am excited to see everybody out there supporting us,” stated Wallace. “My goals are to continue getting better and to help the team get that first win.”
For Watkins, who already has multiple sacks and tackles this season, he wants to keep that momentum.
“I want to be productive and continue to help the team out on defense. I want us to go in and get that first win so we’re on the right track to keep building for the rest of our season,” he said.
When spring hits, Watkins and Wallace will be ready to shift gears for the track and field season.
“I threw the shot-put last year, and I really want to get to that 50-foot range when I go back out this spring,” Watkins explained. “I just want to get better and do what I need to do on the track to help our team score points.”
For Wallace, he ran the 100-meter and 200-meter races for the Owls last year.
“My goals for the season are to get faster and run a sub 10.4 in the 100. I also want to make it to Regionals and help the team win,” he said.
“These are both great kids doing a great job,” says the head football coach Brian Bohannon. “Adam is playing a good bit for us right now. Tykeem is playing on special teams after having a really good pre-season, so I expect his role will continue to grow throughout the season.”
Coach Bohannon admits he’s all for athletes playing two sports as long as they can manage it.
“There are a lot of components beyond the sports, especially keeping up with the academic side, but Coach Cale McDaniel (Director of Track & Field) and I work together to make it work. And I think it’s good for the athletes as long as they can handle everything, and they’ve done a great job of that.”
Coach McDaniel agrees that this arrangement has been a win-win for both programs.
“I knew Tykeem and Adam from their outstanding high school days on the track, so it was a really cool opportunity to add them to our roster this past spring. But the best part about these young men is the incredible character and attitude they both possess and bring to our team.”
Dual-Sport Duo Takes on This or That
Read on to learn what the athletes prefer across 6 categories.
- Football or Track and Field conditioning?
Adam: Track and Field conditioning
Tykeem: Football conditioning all day
Adam: Slides. Gotta let my feet breathe
Adam: Instagram. I like to see what my people are doing.
- Online or in-person class?
Adam: Online. You don’t have to wake up early.
Tykeem: In-person. You don’t have to worry as much about falling behind.
Adam: Night Game
Tykeem: Night Game
Join Wallace, Watkins and their fellow Owls under the lights in the home opener on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 6 pm Fans can purchase tickets to the game here.
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