Cabarrus

Four kids, 1,000 sporting events

The number of games tells it all.

Between her four teenage children, all of whom played numerous sports throughout their lives, Elizabeth Oates estimates she has attended about 1,000 sporting events.

If there was a Team Mom Hall of Fame, she would achieve enshrinement.

Those four children - Jason, Morgan, Ashleigh and Natalie Andrejchak - have compiled an immeasurable number of trophies and team shirts over the year. Now they are equally accomplished student-athletes at Jay M. Robinson High in Concord.

Junior twins Jason and Morgan are members of the soccer and swim teams, respectively. Competing in cross country are the freshman, Natalie, and sophomore, Ashleigh, who also participates in track and field. And Natalie is weighing her options for which spring sport she'll try.

The number of sports all the Andrejchaks have tried could match a week's worth of programming on ESPN. It would include all their current sports plus baseball, softball and gymnastics. Jason swears the only sport he didn't play growing up was basketball.

Plenty of times, the four played in the same program, if not on the same team.

It started with Jason and Morgan participating in gymnastics at age 3.

Oates and her former husband, Jeff Andrejchak, the kids' father, considered themselves athletic, having played sports in high school and college. They didn't push the kids into sports, Oates said. They just wanted them to stay active and not lounge around the house.

"From the time they were born, they've been outside," she said. "Rollerblading, riding bikes or the little scooter. ... We weren't the family where the kids just sat inside. That wasn't pushing. Everybody just went outside.

"Some things stuck, some things didn't.... We've just encouraged them with what they wanted to do."

Jason's involvement in soccer has been the most consistent. As he climbed the ranks of recreational and club soccer, Jason has developed into an all-region player for the Bulldogs.

In 2008, Jason's under-14 club team traveled to England for a tournament, and his mom and sisters were able to make the trip.

Morgan said she enjoys the social environment of attending her siblings' athletic contests as much as anything. She swam with her brother and sisters with Sheffield Manor's summer program in elementary school, but she got back into swimming in her sophomore year. She carried a 4.0 grade-point average (on a four-point scale) last spring and made the state athletic association's Scholar Team.

Ashleigh found her niche with running. As a sophomore, she finished second at the South Piedmont 3A Conference meet and placed 40th at the state meet.

This season, Natalie has established herself as Robinson's top runner. Among her top performances was a first-place finish in a 138-runner field at the Cannon School Invitational Sept. 10.

"Right now in cross country, we're really competitive," said Ashleigh. "Even though we have this sibling rivalry, we can't let it take over the fact that we want each other to get better."

Now that she has four high schoolers, Oates is thrilled that two of them have driver's licenses so they can help with transportation.

"I have 120,000 miles on a 3-year old car," Oates said, laughing.

She's not looking forward, however, to the financial burden of having four in college at the same time. All the Andrejchaks have college aspirations. Except for Morgan, they all hope to receive athletic scholarships and play for their schools.

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