Buchanan High's Elise Krieghoff will board the team bus today headed for Clovis North, where the Tri-River Athletic Conference girls soccer champion Bears play their regular season finale at 3 p.m.
When the referee's whistle blows for the final time somewhere around 5 p.m., Krieghoff's athletic day is only half over.
From there, Krieghoff will catch a ride home from her mother, Kathy, for a brief pit stop to down a couple of protein bars, rehydrate and a quick change. Then it's back into the car for the drive over to Clovis West, where she will join the Buchanan girls basketball team, hopefully before the 6 p.m. tip-off against the TRAC co-leading Golden Eagles.
"It will be a crazy day," Krieghoff said. "Especially with two rival teams in both soccer and basketball."
During a day and age of specialized, year-round training that has made it increasingly less common for students to play more than one sport during the school year, Krieghoff is one of a handful of Central Section athletes who compete in two varsity sports during the same season.
Bullard's Pookie Gonzalez (tennis and volleyball during the fall) and Morgan Darling (girls basketball and soccer during the winter) are two of the other high-profile players pulling double duty, while Buchanan has two athletes following in Krieghoff's footsteps in Sherine Collins (varsity soccer, junior varsity basketball) and Brittaney Allison (varsity basketball, JV soccer).
"I love playing both sports," said Krieghoff, a junior who already has made an oral commitment to play soccer at Cal Poly. "When I found out they were the same season before the start of my freshman year, I knew I had to find a way to play both."
Not only did she find a way to play both sports, Krieghoff has become an impact player for soccer coach Erik Farfan and basketball coach Jenny Thigpin.
Krieghoff leads the five-time defending Division I champion Buchanan girls soccer team, which is ranked second in the section by The Bee, with 23 goals, including 18 through nine conference games. Last year, she had 35 goals and 16 assists.
"We knew she would contribute in a big way. She really picked up where she left off last year," Farfan said. "She's been able to come up with goals for us game after game, and she creates chances for everyone else. That's what makes her special."
Despite knowing Krieghoff's college prospects were in soccer, Thigpin made it a priority to get Krieghoff onto the basketball team after watching her play at Alta Sierra Intermediate School.
Because practices for the two sports occasionally conflict – and all involved agreed soccer would take priority – Krieghoff misses some basketball practices and therefore doesn't start. But she still is the Bears' third-leading scorer at 8.9 points per game.
"When she gets in, she makes us better," Thigpin said before Krieghoff exploded for 10 fourth-quarter points in a come-from-behind win over Central on Friday.
"She may miss a practice or two during the week, but a kid like that, it's hard not to share. I did anything I could to get her to play."
And the key to balancing the two sports, Krieghoff said, is time management.
"It gets easier every year," Krieghoff said. "It's been like a habit, getting the schedule down. My body understands this is the time of year I ask a little more of it."