By John Philip Wyllie
It is not unusual for high school athletes to excel at more than one sport. There have been countless examples of good football players that have traded in their pads and helmets for a bat and ball, but Bonita Vista High senior Elie Ma-gracia has taken that concept one step further. She is starring on two varsity teams simultaneously. Magracia is the starting point guard on the Barons (3-2) basketball team and the primary playmaker as a center midfielder on the Barons (3-2) soccer team. Needless to say, this feat requires an enormous amount of energy and desire as well as coaches that are flexible and supportive.
“Elie is in such marvelous shape and she is so committed that she is capable of playing both sports,” according to Barons veteran soccer coach, Ron Pietila. “I don’t know that anybody has ever had more energy. There may have been some smoother players and some out and out faster players, but in terms of quickness, vision, commitment and field, game and opponent knowledge, no one has been better.”
Last year, as a junior, Magracia was selected as the Mesa League Soccer Player of the Year and went on to claim All-CIF honors. At the same time, this diminutive 5’2” bundle of energy led her team to a league championship and a berth in the CIF semifinals. With the nucleus of that team still intact, she believes this year could be really special. The same is true of her basketball team.
“Our basketball team is looking really good this year. We have about seven or eight seniors so we are looking to do pretty well in league and then advance and play well in the CIF playoffs.”
Magracia’s role on the basketball team is similar to her role on the soccer team.
“As the point guard I control the tempo, so I can walk it up if I am getting tired or if I feel my teammates are getting tired. It works out well with me controlling the plays and the pace of the game.”
With Magracia vital to the success of both teams there are bound to be occasional conflicts, but through cooperation and planning they have been kept to a minimum.
“It has actually worked out pretty well. I am going back and forth it is not conflicting too much. Once we get into league play it will be a little tough, but other than that it is more a question of keeping my grades up. Conflicts have happened once or twice already so, I based my decision on who we were playing and which team needed me more. Both coaches have been really great in cooperating with me and helping me out. They just want the best out of me, but so far, so good.”
As good as she is in basketball, she realizes that 5’2” point guards don’t have much of a future in collegiate basketball, so at season’s end she will devote herself entirely to soccer. Next year, she has committed to play soccer at USD.
One can only imagine how good she might become when she focuses on soccer full-time.