By Catherine Wang
Listing Nicole Hungâs â10 activities brings to mind a Mastercard commercial, with a deep voice saying: “Two varsity sports. Many hours. Club basketball. Twice a week. Co-principal bassoon player in Symphony Orchestra. Class and performances. Three Honors and Three APs. Countless hours. Sessions with personal trainer for basketball technique. Two to five times a week. Sessions with personal strength trainer. Two to three times a week. Balancing it all at once: Sleepless.”
Hung is among the wave of students who have taken on the challenge of playing multiple sports at the varsity level. A standout on both the basketball and tennis teams, she is no stranger to the difficult balancing act of schoolwork and athletics. As a result, she only gets around six hours of sleep each night.
Until high school, basketball and tennis were equally important to her. In ninth grade, basketball became Hungâs primary sport.
This past season, Hung joined the Cal-Swish basketball club of Orange County. She competes with her club team from March until July. She also attends two club practices a week: one after school and one over the weekend.
Since eighth grade, Hung has worked with a personal trainer two to five times a week on her basketball technique. She also sees a personal strength trainer two or three times a week.
Hungâs team competes in tournaments most weekends, and in July, they travel to tournaments for almost the entire month.
Though she stopped competing in tennis tournaments in high school, Hung continued playing tennis for the Wolverines. She now only plays tennis for three months of the year.
In her freshman year, Hung and her doubles partner Cassidy Horn â08 reached the finals for the Mission League Championships. The following year, they captured the Mission League Championship and reached the round of 16 in CIF.
This year, Hung was named captain of the tennis team, but she was unable to compete in the latter half of the season due to an injury.
Hung has been a starter in all three of her high school basketball seasons. As captain this year, she led her team to a CIF championship and scored her 1000th point as a Wolverine.
She plans on playing basketball in college, but will most likely stop playing tennis.
“Thatâs why I play them both in high school, since I know it will probably be impossible in college, and I want to play them both for as long as possible,” Hung said.
In addition to athletics, Hung maintains a rigorous academic workload and considers school a priority over sports. This year, she took three AP courses and three honors courses.
Hung said that until this year, managing her schoolwork and athletics had not been difficult.
“In freshman and sophomore year, it was definitely manageable. This year, because of APâs, [balancing everything] has become a lot harder,” she said.
Hung says she has learned to make sacrifices.
“Since my freshman year, Iâve basically given up my social life. I canât really go out with friends, since Iâm always at tournaments or making up work. I still have my close friends; I just canât go out and socialize with the whole grade,” she said.
Hung feels it is “worth it.”
“At one point, my parents wanted me to focus on one sport, and Iâve considered it, but obviously I didnât capitalize on that idea,” Hung said.
Hung said playing two sports helps prevent her from “burning out” in either one of her sports. In addition, the two sports complement each other well, since they have similar footwork.
“I also get to be a part of two completely different teams and groups of friends,” Hung said.
Hungâs teachers have been understanding when she misses class for athletics, and both of her high school coaches support her playing two school sports.
“Neither of my coaches had ever given me an ultimatum and expected me to choose one sport,” Hung said.
“As a captain, she would always communicate with the coaches and the team manager so that the team was functioning well. She is our most influential doubles player and knows how to raise everyoneâs playing level. She seems to handle playing both sports quite well and is physically strong enough to lead in both,” varsity tennis coach Chris Simpson said.
Hungâs family has also been extremely supportive of her playing two sports.
“My parents are pretty hands-off. Most of the pressure, I put on myself,” she said.
Hung also balances a wide array of extracurricular activities. She is the co-principal bassoon player in the Symphony Orchestra. Until last year, she attended Westside Chinese School and took piano lessons. In middle school, Hung was a key member of the softball team.
“I love playing two sports. I wouldnât do it any other way,” she said.