Amherst’s Dual Athletes: Dedication and Determination

Staff writer Maya Reiner ’25 provides a look into the life of dual-sport athletes, including personal details from two-sport athletes Muffie Mazambani ’24 and Jacob Bruno ’25E.

Amherst’s Dual Athletes: Dedication and Determination
Muffie Mazambani '24, a member of both the field hockey and the track team, is one of many dual-sport student athletes at Amherst. Photo courtesy of Clarus Studios. 

When most people reminisce about their college years, they think about being clad in their school merchandise, sitting in the stands, and cheering for their respective athletics teams.

But for some people, that narrative is different. About one in three Amherst students play a varsity sport, a proportion that (due to the college’s small size) is substantially higher than at most other schools.

That commitment is a lot to juggle for most people — practicing almost every day with games, meets, and competitions all taking time away from academics. However, a small number of those athletes manage an even more impressive feat: they take on the impressive load of playing on two varsity teams.

Playing two different sports requires sustaining passion and focus during both seasons. Still, according to Muffie Mazambani ’24, a member of field hockey and track, and Jacob Bruno ’25E, a football and lacrosse player, the reward for doing so is tremendous.

One of the most important aspects of any team is your teammates, and both cited this bond as one of the reasons they play an additional sport.

“I love that I get to meet many new people and make some great friendships,” Mazambani said. “It’s also nice being able to play a sport I enjoy all year round, and staying fit is a bonus.”

Bruno is also extremely thankful for the friendships he has made. “I love having a large group of guys [on both teams that] I can count on for anything,” he said.

While for some, the challenges of moving from one sport to another could be daunting, Mazambani believes that the physical and mental overlaps make that transition easier. For example, while, unlike track, field hockey involves a stick and ball, the position Mazambani plays is sprinting-focused like her track events.

“Physically, I get a lot of sprinting practice at track, and I use my speed a lot when I play [field] hockey,” Mazambani said. “However, running with a stick and ball and running without [it] require different fitness levels.”

Though the outcomes of Mazambani’s track events and the field hockey team differ, both sports have the collective goal of wanting to do well — both for themselves and for Amherst.

“They both need you as the individual to do well,” she said, “but also, there are others who contribute to the success of the team.”

Bruno also finds similarities in many physical and mental aspects of lacrosse and football, despite the two sports’ inherent differences.

“In lacrosse, you have someone beating you with a metal stick,” he said. “In football, you have a bunch of angry guys trying to crush you. Regardless, there is a certain physical toughness in both sports. There’s also an aggressiveness that is shared in both sports. When you are on the field, you have to be willing to hit the person across from you as hard as you can and not feel bad about it afterwards.”

Mentally, both lacrosse and football “are very cerebral,” Bruno added.

“Whether it’s identifying what coverage the defense is in in football, or knowing the slide packages in lacrosse, both sports share a deep mental aspect,” he said. “[Both] require you to make calculated decisions in a split second, and that split-second decision is often the difference between success and failure.”

Though being in-season more often than not can be stressful and highly time-consuming, Mazambani and Bruno both emphasized that they would not change anything.

“Deciding to play football [in addition to lacrosse] is the best decision that I have made at Amherst,” Bruno said. “What makes the decision worth it is the people I have met and the relationships I have created through the team. I can’t imagine what my college experience would be like without the friends I have made through football.”