SHERIDAN — An assortment of things change for Sheridan High School’s Quinn Heyneman this time of year. As the season shifts from winter to spring, the senior transitions from the mat to the pitch.
But it’s not a simple adjustment. Heyneman’s body, diet and mentality shifts drastically between the sports of wrestling and soccer.
During wrestling season, Heyneman enjoys peak physical condition. He watches, with a keen eye, what he consumes, so that he can make weight each and every week.
“The more you eat on the weekend — when you don’t have to weigh in — the more you have to cut throughout the week,” Heyneman said. “If you just splurge and eat all you possibly can during the weekend, that next week just hurts. You hate to see it, and I definitely don’t do that.”
So that means no ice cream for an individual that, at any other point in the year, enjoys a “healthy bowl” of either coffee-flavored ice cream or Moose Tracks. Cutting out the high-in-fat dairy dessert allows Heyneman to maintain a well-sculpted 160-pound frame throughout wrestling season.
That frame includes a firm foundation. It’s essential for Heyneman’s success on the mat that his legs are not only agile but powerful.
“My legs are probably as strong as they are throughout the entire year from wrestling,” Heyneman said.
But while his legs are strong, they aren’t in tune for what’s needed upon taking the soccer field.
A quicker and endurance-oriented lower body is best for soccer, and that shift takes Heyneman some time to become accustomed.
“Just going from wrestling to long-exerted running is totally different,” Heyneman said. “The first two weeks of soccer, I’m really, really sore.”
Heyneman indicated that the physical shape one has to be in to play soccer is similar to football with one noticeable difference. The Sheridan senior — who played linebacker and running back in the fall — said soccer is comparable to football if one had to constantly jog in between each snap.
Soccer requires constant movement. A player dribbles the ball at their feet into open space. They constantly shift back and forth on defense depending on which side of the field the ball is positioned. A player will sprint from time to time to create separation and make themselves available for a pass.
In the winter, Heyneman is grappling with another person inside a 42-by-42-inch mat. While plenty of physical exertion takes place, earning a takedown or logging a pin, it isn’t the same as to what it takes to be successful on the soccer pitch.
And while Heyneman has traversed this transition the last few years, it doesn’t get any easier.
Ethan Rickett roams the basketball court for the Broncs in the winter months. He, like Heyneman, has to tackle some challenges adjusting to the sport of soccer every spring, but it’s certainly not as drastic as what a wrestler goes through.
“I think basketball gets you into soccer shape,” Rickett said. “You’re just running up and down the court, and I think, since our team, we really focus on transition, so I think it really gets you ready for soccer, as we go up and down the field.”
Rickett solidifies a portion of the midfield for Sheridan, which gives him a blend of defensive and offensive responsibilities. At times he is tasked with setting up an offensive combination that could lead to a goal, while other portions of that game have him hanging back and locking down in the defensive third of the pitch.
Sheridan High School is littered with multi-sport athletes, and the soccer team is no exception.
Just a few weeks ago some of the Broncs’ soccer players were trying to earn an escape on the mat or run the offense as a guard on the hardwood. Now, they’re trying to score goals, challenge defenders and compete for 80 minutes on a 120-yard field.
That adjustment, while nothing new for players such as Heyneman and Rickett, still has its challenges.