All season long, logistics have aligned so that Jocelyn Maynard could compete in all of Columbus North’s cross-country meets and girls soccer games.
That likely will change Saturday when the sectional champion Bull Dogs will compete in regional events in both sports 25 miles apart at about the same time.
So at 10 a.m. Saturday, Maynard will be at her right outside back position in North’s regional semifinal against Floyd Central at Bloomington South. The senior hopes to be there again for the championship game at 7 p.m. that evening.
“This weekend is upsetting because I kind of have to choose soccer,” Maynard said.
The Bull Dog girls cross-country team will run in the Brown County Regional at 11:15 a.m. (following the 10:30 a.m. boys race). The open race, in which Maynard would normally run, is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
Maynard has been playing soccer since age 6 and running since third or fourth grade. She thought she might have to choose one or the other when she entered high school.
“My eighth-grade year, I was very convinced that I was going to choose soccer over running just because that’s what I was passionate about at the time,” Maynard said. “But my cross-country coach (Jeff Friegood at Central) in middle school kind of got in my head and said, ‘Hey, you could be a good runner. Why don’t you try this?'”
So the winter of her eighth-grade year, Maynard talked to North girls soccer coach Derek Stewart and former cross-country coach Rick Weinheimer about doing both. They were both receptive to the plan, and Maynard has done both sports all four years.
First, Maynard goes to cross-country practice, which begins shortly after school ends at 3:15 p.m. Soccer practice usually is from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m., and she typically gets there around 4:45 p.m.
Most cross-country meets are on Saturday mornings, and there are occasional Saturday afternoon soccer games. Fortunately for her and the Bull Dogs, the Conference Indiana cross-country meet in Terre Haute happened to be the same day as their girls soccer game at Terre Haute North, and she missed only a few minutes of the soccer game.
“I feel like I have a lot of adrenaline going into both of them,” Maynard said. “For the (cross-country meet), I’m mentally prepared for it, and I run as hard as I can there, and then I’m in the moment, and I’m like, I have to get there for the (soccer) team. Adrenaline takes over and pushes me through the rest of the game. I really don’t think about how tired I am. I just keep pushing through it.”
Early in her high school career, Maynard was a little better at cross-country. Although she never has cracked North’s seven-runner varsity lineup, she was on the 12-runner tournament roster her sophomore year and is again this season.
On Saturday, Maynard was the Bull Dogs’ No. 12 runner in the Brown County Sectional. The top seven run in the varsity race, while the rest of the team competes in an open race.
“She puts in a ton of time to make sure she balances the two (sports),” North girls cross-country coach Bethany Scruton said. “We have a really big senior class this year, but each girls does a good job of reaching out to the younger girls.”
The past two years, soccer has taken over as Maynard’s top sport. After playing JV her first two years, she saw some varsity action last season.
However, since she did not make last year’s varsity soccer tournament roster, Maynard went with the cross-country team when it had sectional, regional and semistate events on the same day.
“My sophomore year, I really peaked, and I dropped a lot of time (in cross-country), but this year for soccer, I don’t know what got into me,” Maynard said. “I think it’s just more experience. (Stewart) put me playing on varsity, and I feel like I cared more just because I knew there was more at stake. In the JV game, you have a lot of commitment, but not as much, and in the varsity game, you know you’re important and you need to be there for the team and you have to play your role.”
Maynard has played varsity soccer all of her senior year. She emerged as a starter midway through the season.
Stewart said he knew Maynard was a good player, but each year, has gotten better and better and won a starting spot on defense.
“If they have a particularly fast midfielder or striker, we match her up with them,” Stewart said. “The nice thing about Jocelyn is, she has great endurance. She can go 18- to 18(-yard-line) all day long, even after running a cross-country meet. She’s a well-rounded player. We’ve used her strength in the defensive backfield, and she’s been a good player for us back there.”
Stewart said Maynard can play both the right and left back positions. She helped the Bull Dogs post back-to-back shutouts against Center Grove and Columbus East in the sectional semifinals and finals.
Maynard had played everywhere on the soccer field, including goalkeeper, in her first three years at North before finding a home on defense.
“I love playing defense,” Maynard said. “It’s very enjoyable just because I know I’m pretty fast, and I can get back and I can always beat the player before they can get to the goal.”
Maynard, who also runs track in the spring, said she likely will not play competitive sports in college but probably will join the club soccer team at University of Southern Indiana or Ball State. She plans to double-major in special education and elementary education.
Bloomington South Regional
10 a.m.: Columbus North (12-3-2) vs. Floyd Central (11-3-3)
Noon: Castle (16-2-1) vs. Bloomington South (16-2-1)
7 p.m.: Championship