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The Trials of a Tri-Athlete : Cypress' Ana Gill Divides Her Skills Between Track, Softball and Basketball, Which Adds Up to Problems

April 06, 1987|STEVE KRESAL

Ana Gill has become a three-act road show traveling from sport to sport and school to school the past six months.

Gill, a freshman at Cypress College, was a member of the Charger basketball team last fall. This spring, she puts the shot and throws the discus and javelin for the Fullerton College track and field team. And sometimes, she's the designated hitter on the Cypress softball team.

She's eligible to compete at Fullerton, the other college in the North Orange County Community College District, under California Assn. of Community College Athletic Code rules.

In a multicollege district, a student attending one college may participate in a sport offered by another college in the district if the college of attendence does not offer that sport, the rule states.

Cypress dropped track and field in 1984, paving the way for Gill's odd arrangement.

Gill has made contributions on each team, but track and field is her best sport.

Gill was the starting center on the basketball team for about half the season and averaged eight points a game. She's hitting .267 (4 for 15) for the softball team but only shows up Mondays and Wednesdays to play in games. She doesn't get much of a chance to practice batting.

She throws on Tuesdays and Thursdays, competes in Friday track meets and also practices some more on weekends.

In her first meet at Fullerton earlier this spring, she set the school record in the shot with a put of 40-feet 4-inches. The previous record was 37-11.

"I enjoy doing a wide varity of sports, and I guess that's a weakness," said Gill, 19. "I spread myself too thin and try to be like a jack-of-all-trades. But I have fun that way."

But this tri-sport existence was not planned. After high school, Gill took a semester off to work for a courier service, then returned to school last spring, and to competition last fall.

During basketball season, she discovered she could throw at Fullerton without transferring.

But the situation was compounded when Brad Pickler, the Cypress softball coach in his first season, saw Gill on campus. Pickler knew of Gill's talents because he had coached against her when he was at Savanna High School and she was at Western.

Pickler asked her if she would play a minor role on the Charger softball team although it would take away from training for track and field. Gill decided to try both sports.

Although she is concentrating more on throwing, she could be hurting her chances at being one of the state's best shotputters.

"She's got the stuff to throw around 45 feet, but with the way she's spread out so thin I just don't know," said Jim Kiefer, Fullerton track coach.

"Both coaches (Kiefer and Pickler) are very flexible about my coming back and fourth, and I really appreciate that," Gill said. "I probably don't get to throw (the shot) as much as I should, and I know I should just want one thing.

"When it comes down to the one thing that counts, then it's track. Softball will just have to go to the side and Brad (Pickler) told me that's no problem. But I just can't say no to coaches. That's how I get myself into these things."

This is one dilemma she has faced before.

Gill was pulled in many directions in earning 12 varsity letters during four years at Western.

She earned four letters each in track and tennis (she competed on the Orange League-champion doubles team her senior year), three in basketball and one in softball.

But in spring, the logistical problems began. During her senior season, track meets and softball games were scheduled on Thursdays, so she'd sometimes put the shot in her softball uniform before games.

"It used to look impressive going around with your letterman's jacket all loaded down with medals and bars all over," Gill said. "But my junior and senior year I stopped wearing my jacket. I've never been really in sports to have people see what I accomplished.

"I'm lucky to have the ability to play various sports. I'm thankful for that and I like to stay active."

It was the shotput where Gill realized her first large-scale success during her senior season. Gill put the shot 41-6 to win the Orange County Invitational in 1985.

She went on to win the Southern Section 2-A championship but said the competition wasn't very strong. When she advanced to the state qualifying meet against stronger competition, she failed to make the state championships.

"I threw nothing near my capabilities that day," Gill said. "It's a bummer to have your season end on such a down note."

Even with all her success this season, Gill might not return. She isn't really looking for a scholarship to a four-year school, but wouldn't turn the right one down.

She wants to become a police officer, and is thinking of enrolling in the academy at Golden West next fall.

"I don't have any goals to be picked up by a four-year school right now," she said. "I'm out there to participate because I like being around sports. It really felt bad watching friends play the year I didn't.

"It's something I want to do but I'll know when it's time to move on. You can't stay in a dull rut forever. Sometimes you have to wake up and face reality."

But, perhaps, not until she is out of eligibility.

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