Some athletes may play multiple sports, but few excel at a national level in more than one. Even fewer can be heavily recruited by Division I colleges for a sport in which he or she never competed.
John Kane accomplished just that.
The Holy Redeemer senior qualified for the 2014 USA Triathlon National Championships after winning the 19 and under age group at the 2013 Wilkes-Barre Triathlon. In the meantime, Division I colleges continue to recruit Kane for rowing even though he has never set foot inside a boat.
“I’ve always been very adventurous with sports,” Kane said. “I always played every sport I could, and I always wanted to do everything I could even if I wasn’t the best at it.”
Kane plays forward for the Holy Redeemer basketball team and competes in the hurdling events for the Royals in track and field.
“My parents were pretty hands off when it came to sports,” Kane said. “They always told me to do what I wanted and they would support me. They never pushed me to anything.”
He also does CrossFit training to stay in shape for all the sports he plays.
“It’s a different type of workout style that’s different from your conventional workout,” Kane said. “It combines a lot of different elements that you do either as fast as you can or as many rounds as you can for a certain number of times.”
During CrossFit, Kane used rowing machines, which is when people started to take notice to his natural ability and 6-foot-5, 210-pound build.
“My coach noticed that I did fairly well in the workouts that involved rowing,” Kane said. “Especially with my build, he said that I should look at rowing for college and I never even considered it.”
Kane listened to the advice, took a time trial and sent his results to a few schools.
“I sent it to two schools that I really liked and wanted to go to,” Kane said. “They were really interested so I started sending the times out to a wide variety of schools and was just kind of astonished by the amount of schools that said they really want me to come to their colleges.”
The senior accomplished all this without ever competing in the sport.
“A lot of times they have kids who have never rowed before and especially since a lot of places in the country aren’t accessible to rowing teams,” Kane said. “They end up bringing in kids and teaching them the proper form.”
Some schools recruiting Kane include Villanova University, College of William and Mary, Syracuse University, University of Virginia and Holy Cross University.
“I really like Holy Cross,” Kane said. “That was the school I really liked and applied (to). I’ve been in touch with their coach numerous times.”
While Kane tries to figure out a college, he will look to the ongoing basketball season, the impending track and field season and the upcoming 2014 USA Triathlon National Championships on Aug. 9 in Milwaukee, Wis.
“I do CrossFit every day, especially in the summer, which keeps me in very good shape,” Kane said. “I used to do distance runs in track, but now I’m a hurdler so I won’t get in as many distance runs as I would like. Maybe on the weekends I’ll go on certain distance runs just to keep my endurance up, which will help me in track and in the off-season for the triathlon.”
The triathlon will begin with a 1,500 meter swim, move to a 40 kilometer bike ride and end with a 10k run. Kane likes the format of the triathlon because it suits his strengths and weaknesses.
“The swim is definitely my weakest point but I like it because it’s a short distance and I can’t fall that far behind,” Kane said. “I would say my best is my biking and I could keep a good fast pace on the run.”
Kane said his main training season for the triathlon will be the summer.
“Every Saturday morning I go with a group of people and go on a longer bike ride,” Kane said. “Normally, I try to swim two days a week, bike every other day and some days I will do doubles.”
Kane has won the 19 and under age group in three straight Wilkes-Barre Duathlons and in the 2013 Wilkes-Barre Triathlon. He also finished in the top 10% in the 19 and under age group in the 2013 Philadelphia Triathlon. With his limited exposure to triathlons around the nation, Kane has no idea what to expect.
“I know just from competing in the Wilkes-Barre Triathlon there’s 300 people and in Philly I competed against about 2,000,” Kane said. “I can’t even imagine the entire country. It’s going to be such a high caliber performance.”
Kane is excited for the opportunity to compete with some of the greatest athletes in the United States.
“I was always thought it would be a cool thing to just say I did it,” Kane said. “Now I just can’t even wait to compete and figure out where I rank.”