From the football program vs. UTEP: Double Trouble

    Oct. 26, 1999

    by Abby Wigstrom, Fresno State Media Relations

    College years are challenging enough without adding hours of grueling football practice on a daily basis. Then there is attending hours of team meetings and study table. College athletes seem to give up their lives once their sport begins its season. The months filled with sweaty jerseys, bruised body parts and exhaustion can only be tolerated by a select few who can juggle academics, their lives and a Division I sport all at once and still come out on top.

    Now times that by two.

    Junior Anthony Limbrick, the starting safety for the Bulldog defense does more for Fresno State than most know. The Oakland, Calif., native who leads the defense as one of only two veterans in the secondary and is among the team leaders in tackles (41) also leads a two-sport life at Fresno State. It is a well-kept secret, but Limbrick not only straps on his pads every fall to take the field to hound opposing teams' wide receivers, he also laces up his spikes at the first sign of spring and plays centerfield for the Bulldog baseball team. It is a schedule few Fresno State athletes in history have tried, let alone survived. Two sports a year not only takes its toll on the body and mind but dramatically cuts time for friends and family.

    "I donít have a lot of time to do anything else except school, football and baseball," Limbrick said. "In my free time I like to rest."

    The strenuous months of training for both sports does not strike Limbrick as anything uncommon. He comes from a family whose blood runs Bulldog red and blue. Tony Limbrick, Anthonyís father, was a member of the 1972 Bulldog football squad during the Darryl Rogers era and has molded Anthony into the dedicated, disciplined athlete who can juggle the demanding schedule created by a two-sport schedule. The unknown truth about Limbrickís father, however, is that Tony initially pushed his son towards baseball thinking the national pastime was to be his sonís calling. Fortunately for the gridiron Bulldogs, Anthony had more than just baseball on his mind.

    "My dad always thought I would play baseball in college," Limbrick said. "Iím the one who ended up picking football, and then last year went out for baseball. I came to Fresno State because I wanted to try and play both."

    And play both he does. Limbrick took the field in seven baseball games last year, earning a start three times. While his stats might be slim, they are substantial enough to keep Limbrick's heart set on taking the field again this coming spring.

    "As long as it doesnít interfere with football the coaches are okay with me playing baseball, and I want to keep playing both," Limbrick said. "Coach Hill has made it very clear that when its time to play football, I need to play football. Thatís not a problem,"

    As for which he prefers, Limbrick says he could not possibly choose one sport over the other. Even though making diving catches in the outfield and game-saving tackles on the goal line are quite different, he maintains that juggling a passion for two sports does not create a conflict of interest or a distraction on either field. At the moment, Limbrick is focused on and dedicated to football.

    "I canít say Iím more passionate for one sport over the other, but I can say that I am passionate about winning this football season," he said. "I will do whatever it takes and play whatever role I need to play to help my team win. Right now that role is starting strong safety."

    If Limbrickís role includes performances such as his interception against Colorado State on Oct. 9, the Bulldogs have nothing to worry about. Opponents, however, may have a different story.

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