Gavin and Gavin Take On Lacrosse and Basketball


Junior Gavin McMickin running on field.

Brett Huser, Reporter

With the Marin high school sports seasons now underway, the county has aligned with the California Public Health Department recommendations for outdoor and indoor Youth and Recreational Adult Sports. This alignment allows Marin high school athletes to participate in two sports happening at the same time.

In previous years, students could only play one sport at a time. However, due to the state’s decision to hold off all prep sports until the Spring semester because of COVID-19, almost all high school sports seasons are happening simultaneously, with all schedules conflicting with one another. With this overlap of sports, multi-sport athletes throughout Marin have been worried that they would have to stick to just one sport this year. However, with the county’s recent alignment with the state’s multiteam guidance, athletes are now allowed to participate on more than one team at a time.

Although it is recommended that athletes limit their participation to one team at a time, the majority of schools in the Marin County Athletics League, including Novato High, have decided to allow their athletes to participate in two sports seasons simultaneously. Athletes will have to select their primary sport and secondary sport. When working out their schedule with possible conflicts of games and practices, athletes will prioritize their primary sport. 

Many Novato High athletes have expressed interest in playing multiple sports at once, and are planning to do so once all the seasons begin.

Two Novato High athletes who are planning to utilize their multisport eligibility, are senior Gavin Cameron, and junior Gavin McMickin. Both Cameron and McMickin plan to play varsity lacrosse and basketball this year, with lacrosse as their primary sport.

McMickin and Cameron were very relieved to hear they’d be able to play both sports this year.

“I would’ve felt held back and frustrated if a whole season of sports was taken away from me,” said McMickin.

As a senior, Cameron is especially grateful for the opportunity to play both sports.

  “It was really nice to hear that I was able to play both sports this year,” said Cameron. “Unfortunately it is my senior year, and I was looking forward to playing two regular (full length) seasons. However, I’m thankful for the opportunity to play lacrosse and basketball competitively for one last time this year.”

This county-wide rule is great news for all Marin high school athletes, as it allows them to play the sports they would usually play in a normal year. In a year that looked like there may be no high school sports whatsoever, it is great to see that we’ve made this much progress in returning to prep sports.

However, this new rule does have some complications. The main one being that athletes will have many conflicts between their two sports throughout the year. To settle these conflicts, athletes will be following the primary/secondary sport system.

Novato High athletic director, Michele Smith, described this system.

“Student-athletes will have to choose a primary sport. That means that if both sports have a competition (game) on the same day, their primary sport will always take precedence,” said Smith. “Students are allowed to practice with both sports as long as they practice less than 4 hours per day and 18 hours per week. They will not be able to play in more than one competition (game) per day.”

“If a student-athlete decides to play two sports, they will be required to sit down with both coaches to go over the schedule for the season so that both coaches and the player knows what it will look like and if it is doable,” Smith explained.

Both Cameron and McMickin have met with their coaches for each sport and have been approved to play both. They explained that they will have busy, conflicting schedules with balancing lacrosse and basketball.

“Both of my coaches are on board with playing two sports,” said McMickin. “My weekly schedule will be very busy. I will rarely do a full practice with basketball when I have lacrosse practice on the same day. I will not go to basketball practice the day before a lacrosse game, and I will also not be going to basketball games if there is a lacrosse game the same day.”

Cameron is in the same boat as McMickin, as he will also be trying to maximize participation in both sports while prioritizing lacrosse.

Head coaches of sports have the option to disallow their athletes from playing two sports at once. Coaches may decide to do this because they want their players to be fully committed to their team throughout the whole season.

Cameron explained that his lacrosse coach was a bit hesitant to allow him to play both lacrosse and basketball this spring.

“My lacrosse coach does not love the fact that I am playing two sports because it increases the risk of me injuring myself,” said Cameron. “On the other hand, my basketball coach is completely cool with it and just wants to see his players do the things they love and make the best out of this unfortunate time.”

Another possible complication of multisport eligibility is that it may be too challenging for multi-sport athletes to fit in two sports as well as schoolwork into their daily schedule.

McMickin acknowledged that fitting two sports and academic responsibilities into his schedule could be a bit of a challenge.

“I think it can be challenging to balance two sports and schoolwork, but coaches know that you have a full plate. If I have lacrosse practice and then a basketball practice afterward that goes late, my basketball coach can probably understand if I have to stay home and buckle down to get homework done,” said McMickin. “Otherwise, to manage my work, I will use resources and every bit of time before my practices to get my work done.”

Cameron, on the other hand, doesn’t believe this will be a challenge for him.

“As a senior, this year I only have two classes that I am taking. Balancing my sports and my schoolwork should not be a problem. I plan to keep my grades up and still compete at a high level in both sports,” said Cameron.

With possible scheduling complications, it will be interesting to see how multi-sport eligibility will work this year, and if Marin schools continue to allow it in future years once we go back to three seasons of sports.

Expect to see both Gavin’s, as well as all other multisport athletes in action this Spring.