Thornburg jack-of-all trades for Panthers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 29, 2005

Editor's Note: This story appeared in Monday's edition with an incorrect name. We regret the error and are happy to correct it.

CHESAPEAKE - Jeff Thornburg likes to do lots of things, and he likes to do them all the time.

The non-stop schedule of the Chesapeake Panthers junior three-sport athlete gets busier by the season. An end in football and forward in basketball, Thornburg runs four events for the track team.

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But keeping busy doesn't bother Thornburg and it is encouraged by Chesapeake coach Phil Davis who coaches three sports.

"My theory is kids ought to be doing all the sports, especially in a small school," Davis said. "Studies show that athletes who play more than one sport are less likely to sustain an injury."

Thornburg has won or shared high points honors in the past four meets. He and teammate Chad Simmons took top honors last Friday as the Panthers surprised South Point and tied for the league championship.

Thornburg was second in both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles, second to Simmons in the long jump, and ran the anchor leg on the winning 4×400 relay team.

"I like them all," Thornburg said. "Sometimes it gets really tough because my legs get tired."

The jack-of-all trades approach began in junior high when Thornburg ran similar events plus the pole vault. He said his dream is to run in the 100- or 200-meter dashes.

"But that probably won't happen. Coach (Davis) has someone else for those events," Thornburg said with a grin.

Davis said Thornburg was a good athlete who has improved thanks to playing other sports. His 110 hurdle time is 15.0, his 300 hurdle time 41.2 and his best long jump is 19-feet, 8-inches.

"He can go better," Davis said.

Thornburg said he spends an hour and a half at practice and tries to split the time between all the events.

"There are a lot of times when I practice after we're finished," Thornburg said.

Running the hurdles and working on relay exchanges require most of the practice time. Thornburg said the long jump is the easiest part of his workouts.

"I just go down 50 yards and jump," Thornburg said.

For now, Thornburg's goal is simple.

"I just want to try and do good and maybe we'll make the state (meet)," Thornburg said.