(Photo Courtesy of Holy Cross Athletics)
It’s not often that you find an athlete that has the opportunity to play two sports at the DI level. And it is even rarer to find someone who can actually do it at the DI level.
Well, that is exactly what Holy Cross’ Tyson Hugee is doing.
“I am honestly just so blessed, grateful, and honored to just be on the team. The coaches took a chance on me and I really owe a lot to them, Said Hugee “The team has accepted me with open arms and have made the transition extremely smooth and easy.”
A Philadelphia, Pa. native and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy product, Hugee originally decided to play football at Columbia out of high school. However, he ended up redshirting as a freshman and then transferring to Holy Cross, where he had to sit out the 2018 season.
The 6-foot, 180-pound cornerback did not see any time on the football field this past season for the Crusaders. Now he is stepping back onto the lacrosse field for the first time since high school this spring. Hugee is listed as an LSM on the Crusaders’ roster.
While he did practice with the team lacrosse team last season after spring football was over, Hugee will be skipping spring football entirely in 2020 to just play lacrosse. And according to Hugee, both sports help his performance in the other.
“I think both sports definitely complement each other. The footwork of a Defensive Back in football is basically identical to the footwork of an LSM/ or Defenseman in lacrosse…Playing both sports really keeps me in shape all year round,” Hugee said
After three varsity seasons at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Hugee had some offers and interest from programs like Denver, Penn State, and yes, Holy Cross. Hugee visited Denver for lacrosse but ultimately chose football. “My desire to play football was too great,” Hugee said.
During his senior season Hugee was named an All-League Defenseman, defending on-ball well and also being able to get out and run in transition, as well.
While stepping on the lacrosse field and competing after playing in multiple years may be intimidating to some, Hugee said he is very excited about the prospect of suiting back up on the lacrosse field, once again.
Hugee said he always had it in the back of his head that he could play DI lacrosse at Holy Cross and thought it would be cool if he could play both sports in college. However, the idea of him playing lacrosse in addition to football grew bigger after a conversation with Holy Cross head coach Peter Burke, following a football practice in October of 2018.
“I didn’t realize that the lacrosse team had a fall ball practice on that field shortly after football practice had ended…That’s when I saw Coach Burke and we struck up a quick conversation,” said Hugee “About halfway through the spring semester, something changed in me, but I really wanted to play lacrosse. I met Sean Mullaney who was a junior captain at the time. He talked to Coach Burke about it and he graciously allowed me to practice with the team a week later when Spring Football ended,”
The Crusaders come into 2020 following a 2019 campaign where they went 7-7 overall, 4-4 in the Patriot League, and lost to Army in the Patriot League quarterfinals.
Hugee says that while he has high expectations for himself he will do anything to help his team win. “I would rather just let my play do the talking. All I can do is try my absolute best and grind as hard as I can,” said Hugee
The Crusaders begin their 2020 season on February 1st against DI newcomer Merrimack, who won the past two DII championships before making the jump to DI this season.