MCDONALD — Multi-sport high school athletes are very common nowadays — football players in the fall may play basketball in the winter or baseball in the spring, cross country runners in the fall may run track in the spring or volleyball players in the fall may play basketball in the winter and/or softball in the spring.
However, competing in two sports in the same season, all while achieving school-record heights in both, is far less common.
McDonald junior Caleb Domitrovich has reached those heights this fall, becoming the first athlete in McDonald history to qualify for and compete in the state championships of two different sports in the same season — golf and cross country.
“McDonald has had a lot of great athletes come through it and just to know that I’m among them for something that no one else has ever done is really neat,” Domitrovich said.
He finished tied for 19th at the Division III state golf tournament on Oct. 15-16 and then came in 41st at the state cross country meet on Nov. 6.
“It was a really cool experience to be down there for both of them,” Domitrovich said. “They’re both very elite and I set some high goals for myself going into both of them. I didn’t achieve some of those goals but it was a good experience and I’m hoping to get there again next year and do a little better in both.”
Domitrovich came up just shy of the lofty goal he set for himself of earning All-Ohio honors for both sports, which entails finishing in the top-10 for golf and the top-20 for cross country.
Both of his coaches think if he continues to work as hard as he has, there’s no reason he couldn’t achieve those milestones as a senior next fall.
“Setting goals is the No. 1 thing — you have to have something out there to keep you hungry,” McDonald boys cross country coach Kyle Joynes said. “Getting him motivated has never been hard, but he knows to be top-20 in the state isn’t going to be an easy task and there’s going to be a lot of winter and summer mileage he’s going to have to put in, but I have zero doubt about his capabilities on putting in the work necessary.”
McDonald boys golf coach Matt Vuckovic said one of the things Domitrovich struggled with at the state golf tournament was hitting fairways off the tee — something Vuckovic adds that Domitrovich hadn’t had any issues with all season.
“It was a very hard thing to deal with on the spot because he hadn’t struggled with his tee shots all year, then it was just two days where nothing seemed to go where he wanted it,” Vuckovic said. “He just has to play through it when those things happen and keep working on the little things.”
But Domitrovich hasn’t just had success in golf and cross country — he does distance running for track in the spring, as well. In fact, Joynes said Domitrovich earned All-Ohio honors for the 3200-meter race after finishing eighth in the event at the state meet on June 5, helping McDonald to a Division III runner-up finish as a team at the state track meet.
Vuckovic said Domitrovich’s dedication is something that sets him apart as both a golfer and as a runner.
“With him doing cross country and golf, I think some people would easily shy from some things or skip a couple workouts here and there, but that is not the case at all with him,” Vuckovic added. “If he comes to golf, he goes home and immediately starts running and if he goes to cross country and not golf, he goes and hits 150 balls at the driving range or goes to the course till it’s dark out.”
It’s hard enough to balance playing one sport with the time demands and responsibilities of schoolwork and other activities, but Domitrovich keeps himself busy from dawn till dusk to balance golf, cross country and school.
“It’s a lot of early mornings and late nights — getting ready to get up and run before school and going out to the golf course until it’s dark,” Domitrovich said. “My parents do a good job of driving me to everything and making sure I get everything done, so I’m grateful for that.”
Domitrovich said he hopes to continue his athletic pursuits at the collegiate level, adding that he’s already been in touch with a couple schools.
“I’ve gotten a few offers, but I haven’t decided on anything,” Domitrovich said. “Right now I’m leaning towards golf, but that could change. I’m leaving both doors open for golf or running, but I definitely want to continue to compete in college.”