Wenatchee’s Dalton Thomas Will Be Rare Dual-Sport College Athlete
Photo credit: Calder Productions
2019 Wenatchee (Wash.) defensive back and middle infielder Dalton Thomas will be attempting one of the most difficult feats in all of sports; Playing two varsity sports at the college level.
The 5-foot-11 165 pound prospect announced his commitment to San Diego based Southwestern College this past Wednesday.
In the post, he stated his intention to playing both football and baseball at the Southern California powerhouse.
Thomas has been a standout on the football field and baseball diamond virtually his entire life.
During his four years at Wenatchee High School, he garnered several accolades in both sports. Including an All League Defensive Back award, as well as an All League shortstop honor.
When it came time to decide which sport he would have to give up, Thomas couldn't bring himself to choose one.
"I enjoy football so much, but I don't think I've realized my potential in baseball yet," Thomas said. "It's in my blood, I'm good at it, and I didn't have the heart to let it go yet."
It is perfectly reasonable to say that college's were most interested in bringing Thomas in for his football ability.
He had offers from a wide range of top northwest programs. Including the University of Idaho, Montana state University Northern, Pacific Lutheran University, Linfield College, Valley City State University, and Whitworth College.
But when Southwestern College threw an offer on the table that would allow him to play both sports, Thomas knew he had to pull the trigger.
"Every time I've talked talked to the coaches about playing both sports, they've kind of said 'you know how much of a load this is going to be right?" Thomas said. "They do encourage it, because they love their kids challenging themselves."
Playing two varsity sports is much more doable at a junior college than it would be at a four year school.
At four year schools, you're typically locked in for 20+ hours a week.
At junior college's there's far more schedule flexibility, and individual programs typically don't command the same amount of time.
As highly touted as it is for young kids to play multiple sports, this mindset is not carried over in the college game.
Given the elite level of competition that college athletes have to face, it is more practical to train one sport year round.
Thomas knows that by playing two sports, he'll be putting himself at a competitive disadvantage to his peers. Although it's a hurdle he feels he can overcome.
"I think that's something that's in the back of every two-sport athlete's mind," Thomas said. "Just knowing that the other guys are getting work done and you're not. But at the end of the day, you have to trust your work ethic and stay driven."
The plan right now is to play both sports for the next two years.
But when it comes to choosing a four year school after that, Thomas know's it will have to be one or the other.
There's a very good chance he'll once again have several football programs to choose from, but it's also undeniable that baseball could be Thomas' true calling.
His Great Grandfather, Paul Thomas, was a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, and also his Step Father, Matt Hampton played for the San Diego Padres.
Thomas loves playing baseball, photo credit: Kyle Beyers[/caption]
Thomas, along with his peer Reggie Harris (West Valley RB), will be the first two recruits Southwestern has brought in from the Central Washington region.
"The coach I was talking to said he's never even heard of Wenatchee," Thomas said with a chuckle. "I hope we can show them how much talent Central Washington has to offer."
First up for Dalton will be football this summer. He'll be reporting to Chula Vista, California on June 17th.
It can't be understated how much Thomas has helped the Wenatchee sports scene since he arrived four years ago.
He was a major part of taking a football team that went 3-6 his freshman year, to one game short of making it to state his senior year.
"It was incredible putting on that helmet and representing Wenatchee," Thomas said. "We have so many great alumni, and such great history. Now that I'm done playing, and looking back on it, it's been an honor to be a Panther."