John’s Journal: One Season, Two Sports, A Very Busy Family
Minneapolis Edison Twins Cyrus And Elijah Jones Are Four-Sport Athletes
Posted: Tuesday, May 30, 2023 - 11:37 AM
A few weeks ago I posted a note on Twitter, asking people to let me know about high school kids who are involved in two sports at the same time this spring. I learned about several Minnesota student-athletes who fit that model, including Cyrus and Elijah Jones of Minneapolis Edison High School.
They are juniors, they are twins, and they take the notion of “multi-sport athlete” to another level. They are football players in the fall, wrestlers in the winter, and in the spring they are members of the Tommies’ baseball and track and field teams.
They are very, very busy.
“It requires a lot of time management,” said Eli.
“It’s a lot of organizing my schedule,” said Cyrus.
Both are all-district football players, with Eli a varsity starter since eighth grade. Cyrus qualified for the state wrestling tournament in February, and this spring the twins have stayed even busier with practices and competitions in two sports at the same time.
Their parents, Jane and Kenny, are educators and former athletes who are well-attuned to the challenges of school and sports. The family’s busiest time was probably during the winter of 2021-22 when Cyrus was wrestling and Eli was playing basketball. Talk about chaos.
“That was really crazy,” said Jane. “One helpful feature of winter sports is Kenny isn’t coaching (he is an assistant football and baseball coach at Edison). We were able to get schedules on a planner and figure out who’s going where.”
With a routine that focuses on lots of moving parts, it’s no surprise that Eli and Cyrus have been moving at a rapid pace their entire lives. They were the kind of little kids who bounced off the walls with constant energy.
“In preschool they were lovingly nicknamed the twin tornadoes by some of the other parents,” said Jane. “Once they walked, they ran.”
The twins were involved in tee ball, gymnastics and other activities that kept them busy. “They were always moving and we tried to have them move in positive ways,” Jane said.
Playing two sports at the same time is filled with challenges, and Edison head baseball coach Joe Boyd said having Eli and Cyrus also competing in track (where they are sprinters and jumpers) can be cause for worry.
“Absolutely. I think any coach would be lying if he said he didn't (worry),” Boyd said. “But you know what? To be able to play two sports and to be able to condition two different ways, it's beneficial for them on the baseball field. They're so quick. Their reaction is so fast, and they're so strong.
“To have two boys who are multisport athletes, I'm a big proponent of allowing guys to do that. It would be selfish of me to say they shouldn't be able to do track. We can spread the love a little bit. I love it and I support those guys 100 percent.”
Eli said track, especially speed work, is important “because I want to get faster for football. Track helps me more with football.”
Cyrus called track “a fun thing to help me get stronger and faster, but baseball takes more priority for me because I’ve been doing it since I was young.”
Both of them have dealt with injuries. A hamstring injury kept Cyrus sidelined for a time this spring and Eli has been competing despite a lingering shoulder injury that will require surgery before the 2023 football season.
“They go all out, they go hard and they always have,” Jane said. “I’ll never forget when Eli was little, around fourth grade, playing first base when a ball was hit and he and the pitcher went for it at the same time. You could hear the two heads colliding.”
Eli suffered a broken nose, damaged eye socket and cheekbone. “But he held up his glove because he caught the ball,” said his mom.
One of the highlights so far in their athletic careers came when Cyrus won the Section 5AA wrestling championship at 145 pounds last winter. Having the opportunity to wrestle in the state tournament at Xcel Energy Center was special.
“It was a great experience,” Cyrus siad. “I was a little nervous because of how big the crowd is. But once you actually start wrestling you kind of forget it all.”
His season ended with a first-round loss at state, but that didn’t diminish his accomplishment. And with one more year of high school remaining, the Jones family will surely see more great moments.
“They both are really driven,” said Jane. “They don’t hold back.”
--MSHSL media specialist John Millea has been the leading voice of Minnesota high school activities for decades. Follow him on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts. Contact John at [email protected]