College Corner: Volker hitting stride at Princeton
Jerry Carino , @njhoopshaven
The Rumson-Fair Haven H.S. grad is having a breakout football season after setting records on the track. It’s a balancing act.
In the spring of 2015, Charlie Volker was committed to Princeton University for football when the Tigers’ track coaches saw him winning the NJSIAA Meet of Champions in the 100-meter dash.
They asked him: Would you consider running at the next level?
His answer: Sure, why not?
Thus began a rare endeavor. Volker is two-sport college athlete, and a very good one at that.
The Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School graduate won the Ivy League title in the 60-meter dash last winter, and this fall he is splitting time in Princeton’s backfield. Through four games for the 3-1 Tigers, the sophomore has 246 rushing yards on 54 carries (a 4.6 average) and three touchdowns. That includes 88 yards in Saturday’s rain-soaked triumph at Georgetown.
“Just knowing they were able to trust me with the ball in tough conditions like that, and being able to step up to the challenge, is a big confidence-booster for me,” Volker said.
This after a superb freshman track campaign. He won the Ivy 60-meter dash in a program-record time of 6.73, then clocked 10.56 for the 100 dash outdoors. That ranks among the top 10 times in team history. He also ran on the Ivy League champion 4×100, which went a brisk 40.41.
“I like to keep myself busy,” Volker said. “Track is a good way to stay in shape. And you keep competing, which is awesome, because competition is the best thing for you.”
The added fitness is coming in handy this fall because Princeton runs a hurry-up offense.
“I’m a lot more comfortable in the offense this year; last year was a big transition for me,” he said. “The speed that we operate on, it was a different world.”
Volker has to hustle off the field, as well, to fit it all in. During the spring he juggled track with football meetings and weightlifting sessions — marathon days with little time to breathe. That’s not to mention academics. Princeton’s course load is demanding enough on its own. Right now Volker is taking four classes — three for his history major, plus economics.
“There’s definitely no time to get lazy,” he said.
Of course, Volker wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s made good friends on both teams. Plus he’s a competitor at heart.
“You don’t give up on something just because it’s tough at first,” he said. “You might end up meeting the coolest people — people like you, who have the same attitude toward life. It’s definitely worth it.”