St. Petersburg Times Online: Business

Weather | Sports | Forums | Comics | Classifieds | Calendar | Movies

Two sports leave her drained but delighted

BRIAN LANDMAN
Published October 7, 2004

TALLAHASSEE - Florida State sophomore Nikki Anthony is unlike just about any other student-athlete anywhere.

The volleyball team's outside hitter juggles the daily demands of another varsity sport, basketball, which has an overlapping season. That rarely happens anymore.

"It's mentally, physically, emotionally draining," said Anthony, a 6-foot-3 center who didn't join basketball last year until the conclusion of the volleyball season and sat out, as planned, as a redshirt. "It's nutritionally draining as well. I only eat one meal (dinner) a day. There's really, honest to God, no time to eat. Mentally, I'm trying to be the best at both of them, but I'm also losing time for me. Sometimes I need Nikki time. That's very hard."

In accordance with NCAA rules, she is limited to a maximum of 20 hours a week for sports. So her coaches, volleyball's Todd Kress and basketball's Sue Semrau, have had to work together to craft a schedule for her to be with both teams (14 or 15 hours a week with volleyball and four or five hours with basketball), a schedule that will be tweaked with basketball practice beginning Oct. 16.

"I have a team schedule and a Nikki schedule," Kress said. "I've never had that before where I've had an individual schedule for a student-athlete. ... It's been tough on her, but she's doing a great job."

She's fourth on the team in kills (95) and fourth in blocks (23) entering this weekend's ACC matches at Maryland and Virginia.

"I can sit here and say it's hard, but this is why I came to Florida State," Anthony said. "Florida State was willing to let me live my dream, was willing to let me try. Whenever I want to have a pity party, that's what I think. This is my dream. This is hard, yes, but can you imagine what an amazing person I'm going to be when I come out of here. A normal eight- or nine-hour job is going to be like a piece of cake to me. ... I've got double the teammates. I've got double the coaches who care about me. All the places I'll go. All those things that so many young girls will never get to experience, I'm getting to do."

LINE DANCE CONTINUES: Football coach Bobby Bowden can't believe the injuries his team has had to deal with on the offensive line. Junior guard Matt Meinrod is out after tearing the ACL in his right knee. Senior guard Bobby Meeks has been out, as has junior center David Castillo. Then backup sophomore center John Frady dislocated his left elbow and could be out for the year.

"We've been kind of unlucky," Bowden said, pausing to reconsider. "We might be lucky to be where we are. We might be lucky we've moved the ball as good as we have."

SCHEDULING BREAK: Bowden didn't spend much time before the year considering the pros or cons of playing three straight home games after the opener at Miami. He's sure thankful for it now after having to go with a new quarterback, Wyatt Sexton.

"The best place to break in inexperience is at home," he said.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES EXPOSURE: Bowden sees only positives in ESPN's 30-minute insiders look at each ACC team. The episode featuring FSU was filmed during the days leading up to the Clemson game and then aired Friday.

"It's a good thing for the conference," he said. "Putting that thing in everybody's living room, on every team, is a darn good thing."

Besides the PR, the episode perhaps shattered a myth that Bowden, a professed CEO, isn't engaged with his team. Several minutes show him talking to players at practice and watching drills from the sideline, not the tower.

SERVING NOTICE: Cross country coach Bob Braman can't help but be impressed with the men's sixth-place finish at last weekend's Notre Dame Invitational.

Junior Andrew Lemoncello ran a 23:48, the second-best 8K time in school history. Sophomore Tom Lancashire (24:16), senior Eddie Rodriguez (24:17) and junior Sean Burris (24:19) all had personal bests and times that now rank in the top seven all-time at FSU.

"This is the best team I've had since I've been here," said Braman, the former USF coach who is in his fifth year at FSU, "and maybe the best team I've coached."

If sophomore Luke Beevor, the top runner who has been out with a shin injury, can return, look out.

Times staff writer Brian Landman covers FSU. Reach him at 813 226-3347 or landman@sptimes.com

© Copyright, St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.