Pike peaks: MHS junior competes in pair of winter sports
By Pete Temple, Express Sports Editor
Monticello High School junior Daniel Pike couldn’t decide between two sports he enjoys, wrestling and basketball.
So, he’s doing both.
“I didn’t know what to do,” the 17-year-old said. “So I called both coaches. We set up a meeting to see if it could work out, and we got something figured out.”
Pike not only plays two sports in one season, he starts at the varsity level and does well in both.
In basketball, he is averaging 6.5 points and 5.0 rebounds, while shooting 46.8 percent from the field. In wrestling, he carries a 13-4 record.
The toughest part is staying at the top of his game in both sports.
“The days when I have both practices are pretty rough,” Pike said. “Toward the end (before the holiday break), I was starting to wear down a little bit. But this break has really helped me out so far, and I’m ready to go again.”
While scheduling conflicts have been few, there have been two occasions this season when Pike was in a wrestling tournament and a basketball game on the same day.
The first of those was Dec. 8, when the wrestling team went to Maquoketa and the boys basketball team played at Anamosa that same evening. Pike performed well in both cases, finishing second at 285 pounds in the tournament, and then scoring six points and grabbing five rebounds in the Anamosa game.
In those situations, he gets his second wind in time for the basketball game.
“At night you kind of get your adrenaline pumping, the game’s going, and I’m ready to go again,” Pike said.
On Dec. 15, Pike wrestled in the Lisbon tournament and then played in the basketball game against Midland at night. The wrestling tournament was a season highlight for him: he went 4-0, with three pins and a forfeit.
“That was a big weekend for me, because I was starting to get down a little bit,” Pike said.
He said the momentum from one sport can carry into the other.
“You get going in one of the sports, and build up that confidence, and it will go right into the other sport the same night,” he said.
The first time both of Pike’s teams will be competing at the same time will be Jan. 8, when the basketball team plays host to Maquoketa Valley while the wrestlers compete in a quadrangular meet at Durant.
“I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet,” he said.
Another conflict is possible on Feb. 14, when the first day of the State Wrestling Tournament bumps up against the second round of the district boys basketball tournament.
“That’s going to have to be a make-the-decision-as-we-go kind of thing,” he said.
Part of Pike’s challenge is embracing the differing mentalities of the two sports.
“Wrestling is a lot more physical,” he said. “You need to have the mindset that you can’t be beat; otherwise you will be beat.
“In basketball, you have to think out there, and make sure you’re doing the stuff right that coach (Tim) Lambert wants you to do.”
He said he has loved sports since he was a small child, when his father Stuart would take him out in the family yard to throw a baseball or football.
“It just developed over time to where I have to be active, or I feel lazy,” he said.
Pike is active in other areas. He is secretary of the Monticello FFA Chapter, and a representative in the student council.
One of the keys to success in all of his endeavors is to get chances to rest.
“Sunday is my day,” Pike said. “On Sunday I do nothing except recover.”
PHOTO: Daniel Pike competes for the Panther wrestling team this winter, as he did for this match in the Dan Guilford Invitational Dec. 1. Pike is also a starter for the Panther boys basketball team. (Photo by Pete Temple)