On February 21, 2022, senior Sam Skarich played his last basketball game for the North Scott Lancers. Two weeks later, Sam was out on the track practicing high jump for this year's track season. It is not the first or last time Sam has quickly transitioned between sports seasons. In fact, Sam is the only senior athlete who participates in four sports for all four high school seasons in Iowa.
Sam wasn’t always a four-sport athlete at the high school, however.
“I’ve always played baseball and basketball,” Sam said, “I always wanted to play football, and my parents finally let me my junior year.” He never envisioned himself as being a four-sport athlete until his mom made him go out for track in the spring of his junior year.
He has felt the rewards of his hard work through being a state champion on the football team his junior year and having a lot of success in every sport.
He caught two touchdown passes during his senior football season with his first one at Western Dubuque. His goal for the football season was to get more playing time, and he did just that. “It was crazy to receive my first touchdown in football,” Sam says, “I had great blocking on the screen pass, and my quarterback threw a great ball.”
After a stellar regular season for the team, it was disappointing how his football career ended. “It was great to get close to all the football guys. It made it a season to remember.”
Sam has played basketball for just about his entire life, so it was surreal when he finally got to start on senior night. “The crowd was electric, and it was great to see all the seniors play well, especially my friend Cody Sunny who was hitting a lot of threes.”
He said that his favorite basketball memories were not with the varsity team but rather the JV games. His last JV game had an ending that was quite special.
With the game tied with one second left, Cody Sunny gave a long pass to Sam, who made a quick pass over his head to Eli Engelkes, who drained the game-winning three. “It was the highlight of my basketball season.”
As his basketball season quickly came to a close, Sam put all of his attention into the track season.
His Track Season
Sam excelled very quickly at the high jump during his junior year of track, hitting a PR of 6’5 that year. He also qualified for the Drake Relays and competed at the State Track Meet.
Sam kicked off his senior track season in the UNI-Dome on Tuesday, finishing second in a field of 80 competitors. He cleared 6’6, which tied the school record in the high jump and punched him a ticket to the Drake Relays. “I had a great week of practice leading up to that [...] it was rewarding my legs took me to clear that height.”
Sam has set himself a few goals for this track season. He hopes to be able to clear 6’7 this year in the high jump and win the event at the state track meet in May.
Future Baseball Plans
Sam has found quite the success on the baseball field, finding a spot on the Varsity team since his sophomore year and even earning All-State honors.
“I always loved baseball growing up and saw a future for myself in baseball,” Sam adds that “although I love track, baseball is my favorite sport.” That made his future college decision quite easy despite his track offers. Sam will be attending Southeastern Community College to play baseball and continue his education next year.
With still a season of baseball left, Sam has an individual goal of being Conference Player of The Year. But, most importantly, he hopes that his team can make a run to the State Tournament. “ We have a lot of good returners and new guys on the team that could help make a positive impact.” Last year, the Lancers came up one run short of the state tournament.
Balancing it All
With Sam’s busy schedule, it can be hard to imagine how he has the time and energy to do it all. He says his secret is to “Try to stay in good shape, stay healthy, and try to find time to practice out-of-season sport, but when one sport is in a season, that is my main focus.”
With the outdoor track season kicking off after spring break, it can be clear that Sam Skarich’s main focus is the high jump. But, with a senior baseball season looming in the distance, the four-sport senior athlete is not done yet.