As athletes begin to specialize in a sport or even a position within a sport at earlier and earlier ages, the era of the multisport star has largely come to a close. It’s no longer the norm for the city dominant high school athletes to earn Player of the Year consideration in multiple sports the way that Willie McGinest once dominated football and basketball, or Tony Gwynn was a standout in baseball and basketball.
But there are still athletes out there participating in multiple sports for their schools–and in Long Beach, athletes who excel while doing so. That’s the case for this year’s honorees, a senior and a freshman, who were both all-league caliber in multiple seasons.
Nico Colchico, Wilson Cross Country/Basketball/Track & Field
Wilson senior Nico Colchico was the multi-sport athlete of the year his junior year, which saw him competing in track meets and basketball games for Wilson on the same day thanks to the bizarre COVID-19 compressed schedule. As a senior he was one of the best multisport athletes in Southern California.
He had a strong cross country season, followed up with a second-team All-Moore League basketball season, before transitioning into track and field in the Spring for his third competition season of the school year. That’s where Colchico excelled, as a Moore League champ and CIF-SS Division 1 champ in the 1600, with a best time of 4:09.84; he also won the Oregon Relays in the 800 with a 1:54.26.
Colchico signed a full track and field scholarship to Indiana and, fitting of an athlete of his varied skills, he could run anything from the 400 to the mile, while also training as part of the cross country team in the Fall.
Jackson Cryst, Millikan Basketball/Volleyball
The son of former Long Beach State volleyball standout Geoff Cryst, Millikan freshman Jackson Cryst looks like the next big multisport athlete in Long Beach. Cryst was a standout basketball player for the Rams this year earning second-team All-Moore League honors as a 6-foot-8 frosh center.
Then in the Spring he really starred for Millikan, earning first-team All-Moore League honors as a boys’ volleyball player, a sport where he’s already drawing scholarship interest and attention.