Women\'s soccer preview: SPU\'s Pixler ready for double sports duty
By Steve Turcotte
Special to The Seattle Times
Jessica Pixler will compete in soccer and cross country.
When incoming freshmen head to college, usually there\'s not enough time in the day. With classes, studying, perhaps a part-time job, sometimes there just aren\'t enough hours to get it all done.
And then there\'s the story of Jessica Pixler.
Not only will Pixler attend classes at Seattle Pacific this fall as a freshman, she will play on the women\'s soccer team and run cross country.
But then again, she wouldn\'t have it any other way.
\"I\'ve only known one way my whole life — and that\'s to stay busy,\" said Pixler, who graduated from Sammamish\'s Eastlake High School. \"My friends think I\'m crazy to do both sports at the same time. They think I\'m a nut. But I might be, running on days like Christmas and Thanksgiving.\"
Pixler heads to Seattle Pacific with some great credentials in both sports as well as track.
On the soccer field, she was an All-KingCo 4A defender. Pixler played for an Olympic Developmental Program, coached by SPU coach Chuck Sekyra.
On the cross-country trails, Pixler went undefeated through Eastlake\'s dual-meet season and also won the league and district championships. She finished second at the Class 4A state meet.
And on the track, Pixler won the state championship in the 800 meters and finished second in the 1,600 as a senior.
Impressive credentials, for sure.
\"She\'s so good at both soccer and running, that she needs to do both,\" said Sekyra. \"She is someone who has a unique level of stamina and I trust her. I think she can do anything she wants.\"
Sekyra and SPU cross-country coach Doris Brown Heritage have been in communication throughout the summer on a schedule for Pixler. Pixler says her main focus is soccer, but she wants to run with the cross-country team when there is some down time between games and practices.
\"Chuck and Doris have been great with everything,\" Pixler said. \"They are working well together for me to do both sports. It\'s all worked out for me to train with the cross-country team when I can and run a couple of meets.\"
On the soccer field, Pixler knows she\'s going to have her work cut out for her. She is new to a team that advanced to the NCAA Division II championship game last year, losing 2-1 in the final to Nebraska-Omaha. Eight players graduated, but Pixler knows she just can\'t show up and expect to play.
Seattle Pacific returns five starters, including All-American forward Sarah Martinez. The Falcons finished 20-1-4 last year and were picked by every Great Northwest Athletic Conference coach to win the league title. SPU has a 57-game regular-season unbeaten streak heading into this season.
\"There\'s not a weak player on the team,\" said Pixler.
Said Sekyra, \"She gets forward and works well with the ball. \"She serves a great left-footed ball. And she makes great decisions. She sees the game very well.\"
Pixler, who had a 3.8 grade-point average in high school, could have gone to places like Air Force, San Francisco, even Duke. But she decided to stay at home, even it means being overloaded with two sports.
\"It\'s going to be a busy fall, but I\'ll be ready for it,\" said Pixler. \"I don\'t know what I would do if I had free time.\"