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Benjamin Franklin's Maddie Falls juggling multiple roles with ease

Feb. 5—Maddie Falls doesn't often get time to rest throughout the day.

She starts her mornings like all her other Benjamin Franklin High School peers, going through class after class in the rigorous curriculum. Her afternoons, however, become more hectic.

Falls is often bouncing around from practice to practice. Sometimes, she starts in soccer and ends with the basketball team. Other times the roles are flipped. But the multi-sport athlete somehow makes it look easy, and she doesn't bat an eye at the responsibility she has for both programs along with her schoolwork.

She embraces the chaos.

"I just want to prove to myself that I can do it and I can do it good," Falls said. "I don't want to just show up and be there. I want to try to be the best at it. It's a lot of late nights and a lot of homework during school."

Soccer was Falls' first love. She began playing 14 years ago and it has stuck ever since. She currently plays club for Utah Royals in the high school off-season, often practicing early in the mornings before school. In the fall, she coupled that with being one of the star players for the Benjamin Franklin flag football program, which had its inaugural season alongside nearly 60 other schools.

The Chargers made the playoffs under Head Coach Jay Luce and with Falls helping lead the way. But when the season came to an end, both Luce and Falls shifted gears. Luce began preparing to lead the lady Chargers basketball team. Falls began preparing for soccer and basketball season and the madness that was sure to follow juggling both sports at the same time.

"It makes her an all-around better athlete," Luce said. "I want her to have everything she can get out of it during her high school career to be where she wants to be. She's committed. That's all I can say."

Perhaps the biggest showing of chaos occurred on Friday, Jan. 26. Falls played keeper for the soccer team in their 6-0 win over Florence.

Underneath her soccer kit, also known as a uniform, was her basketball jersey. The final whistle came during the first quarter of the Chargers' game against Valley Christian. She immediately made the transition from a soccer mindset to basketball.

About 30 seconds after arriving to the gym, she checked into the game.

"It was senior night. When the game ended and we said our congratulations I sprinted here into the gym and took of my keeper stuff to start playing basketball," Falls said. "In the moment I had a lot of adrenaline in me. The crowd was excited, at least it sounded like they were excited."

There are times where what Falls was able to do that Friday simply aren't possible.

With the seasons running concurrently, Falls is often left to choose whether she plays for the soccer or basketball team that night. The decision is made through conversations with both coaches, as well as her greater love for one sport more than the other.

Soccer is what she believes to be her future calling. Though she would also play basketball if the opportunity presents itself. But for now, when she's forced to make a decision, soccer is usually the pick. Luce, while disappointed at times, understands her love for soccer.

He is determined to never stand in Falls' way of that.

"She wants to do multiple things," Luce said. "She wants to play in college so why would I stifle that? If she wants to do both, excellent. It's up to me to encourage that."

Despite her hectic schedule, Falls still maintains a 4.0 GPA in the classroom. She said while it's difficult, she has learned to manage her time wisely. There are some late nights and many early mornings, but in her mind it's worth it.

She enjoys representing Benjamin Franklin in as many ways as possible. In the spring she'll do it on the track.

Both the girls' basketball and soccer teams are poised to make it to the postseason. Falls hopes she'll be able to play in matches for both teams and not have to decide between the two. If she does, however, it will undoubtedly be an even tougher decision than in the past.

But she's not looking too far ahead. For now, she's enjoying the time spent with teammates, coaches and playing multiple sports to keep her going.

"It's pretty cool, I really enjoy it," Falls said. "It's a positive environment with both teams. I have lots of friends and it just fuels my love."

Have an interesting story? Contact Zach Alvira at (480)898-5630 or zalvira@timespublications.com. Follow him on Twitter @ZachAlvira.