Southwest's Wilkes Plays a Double Shift for Raiders

Michele Wilkes of Southwest High School has a lot on her mind this week.

Not only does she have to concentrate on the Raiders' San Diego Section 2-A championship basketball game Saturday at the Sports Arena, but the school's soccer team is headed for the 2-A playoffs Wednesday.

Wilkes has reason to be concerned about these events, since she is a forward on the basketball team and the goalkeeper on the soccer team.

If that sounds a little odd, it is. And even though the teams play their games on the same days, the 5-foot 11-inch senior has yet to miss a game for either team this year.

Wilkes has a 22.6-point average for the basketball team. On the soccer field, she tied a section record for shutouts with 17.

Wilkes also was an all-league volleyball player and last year tied a league high-jump record last while at Bonita Vista High. To top it off, she spends her Sunday afternoons practicing with the San Diego Select Soccer Team, a collection of the county's top high school soccer players.

"I'm always playing sports, all year round," said Wilkes, who shrugs off the unusual aspect of playing two sports at once. "I've always got some kind of activity going on. I like the opportunity to get out and run around for a while."

Basketball Coach John Boone and soccer Coach Ron Pietila support Wilkes' decision to play both sports.

Since the soccer team plays its games at 3:30 p.m. and basketball team plays at 7:30 there is relatively little conflict.

"After the soccer game, I drive home, get dressed and come back for the basketball game," Wilkes said. "I usually have about 15 minutes to spare between games."

Practice does cause a conflict, since both teams practice immediately after school. Wilkes spends most of her practice time with the basketball team, but some days she will spend half her time on the soccer field and the other half in the gym.

"If I had to practice with one sport all the time it would be harder," Wilkes said. "This way I don't get bored. All the practices are hard, but the coaches make them fun so you don't get that tired."

Said Pietila: "I saw a need for her to be with the basketball team. I already knew she was pretty well polished as a goalkeeper, and that she didn't need much time to practice for soccer."

Despite Wilkes' busy schedule, she is able to squeeze in an occasional practical joke. Recently, she told a couple of her basketball teammates that there would be a special practice early one Saturday morning.

"They showed up at 8 in the morning, and no one else was there," Wilkes said with a laugh.

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