Column: Jack Fairchild and Tyler Hampton show how to be three-sport standouts

Jack Fairchild of Crean Lutheran and Tyler Hampton of Edison.
Three-sport standouts Jack Fairchild of Crean Lutheran, left, and Tyler Hampton of Edison show how high school athletes can excel at multiple disciplines.
(Nick Koza; Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

Rising at 5 a.m. to make a Saturday morning drive from Irvine to Arcadia, Jack Fairchild was fortunate that his father, Michael, was serving as his chauffeur so he could take a nap. A football player in the fall and a basketball point guard in the winter, Fairchild was sticking with his plan to be a three-sport athlete, so he was on his way to compete in a winter track meet in the morning and a basketball game in the evening.

“Honestly, playing three sports is something my parents pushed me to do and I fell in love with each of them individually at different times,” said the 6-foot-3 senior from Irvine Crean Lutheran.

It takes commitment, cooperation and special time management skills to pull off being a three-sport athlete in high school. If it were easy, there would be a lot more multi-sport standouts. It isn’t. Among the obstacles are getting coaches to agree on practice times, solving transportation issues, setting a schedule so that cross-training can take place and figuring out ways to sleep while worrying about sports commitments, homework assignments and college aspirations.

Tyler Hampton from Huntington Beach Edison is another senior following Fairchild’s path in the same sports.


Hampton, 6 feet 4, was a standout receiver in the fall, averages 14 points and 10 rebounds for the 22-4 basketball team and is the defending Southern Section Division 2 champion in the high jump.

“There’s a lot of communication with coaches and a lot of understanding I’m in [a] situation [where] I’m doing three sports and want to succeed in all three,” Hampton said. “They understand my body is going to be exhausted one day and I might need to go to trainer or miss a little practice or go to another practice or game.”

The biggest accomplishment was both being able to compete in three sports simultaneously in 2020-21 when the seasons merged in the spring because of COVID-19 postponements. Who in his right mind would try to play football, basketball and compete in track during an abbreviated COVID season?

“It was pretty crazy,” Fairchild recalled.

Not only was Hampton playing football for Edison in April and March, he was training for basketball and traveling to Santa Monica for high jump training, running around in the early morning, playing pickup basketball and training in the weight room.

Fairchild didn’t start playing football until his junior season. His mother finally approved after constant lobbying.

“My mom was a little hesitant to let me play tackle football and it took time for me and my dad convincing her,” he said. “My grandpa wouldn’t let my dad play football because he was worried about him getting injured. It was a lot of me and my high school coach advocating, ‘This year, the helmets are super safe, Jack is not going to get hurt.’”

This past fall, Fairchild caught 46 passes for 729 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s a key reserve for Crean Lutheran’s basketball team, expected to be an Open Division playoff team. He won Empire League titles in the triple jump, long jump and 110 hurdles. He finished second in the 60 hurdles on Saturday at Arcadia at the winter track and field championship event, then drove back to Santa Ana to play for the basketball team at Santa Ana Mater Dei.

Both want to continue as football players at the next level. Fairchild has received preferred walk-on offers from Arizona State and Sacramento State. Several Division II and NAIA schools are pursuing Hampton for football.


Each loves being a three-sport athlete. Each can dunk a basketball.

Hampton was even asked by the volleyball coach to consider trying the sport in his final weeks of high school.

“It’s a possibility,” he said. “I feel I can pick it up.”

Strangely, living in a city, Huntington Beach, known for producing surfers, Hampton is no surfer.

“It’s weird,” he said. “I prefer to be down land.”