Double duty: Minooka’s Nate George dominating on the field and running wild on the track

George is an MLB draft prospect and the school record holder in the 100-meter dash

Minooka’s Nate George is greeted by teammates after a solo home run against Joliet West in the WJOL tournament semifinal on Friday, March 29, 2024 in Plainfield.

Remember that movie “The Machinist,” the one Christian Bale lost 62 pounds for? The main character thinks he’s going insane after having not slept for a year.

So one has to wonder, has Nate George gone insane yet? If not, when does he have time to sleep?

George, a senior at Minooka, has long been an outstanding baseball player for the Indians. Aside from three indoor track meets and football during his sophomore year, he’s only played baseball throughout high school. It’s worked out well for him as he’s earned some attention from professional scouts and Division I universities.

This season, however, he decided to try running track again. Now, you’re probably thinking, “Wait, isn’t track season during baseball season?” Yes it is.

George has taken on the daunting task of playing baseball and running track at the same time this season. His coaches have made allowances in order for him to do both. He’s continued to see success in baseball, where he’s batting .404 with a team-leading 40 hits, eight home runs and 36 RBIs.

In track, he helped lead Minooka to a Southwest Prairie Conference championship two weeks ago, finishing in first place in the 100-meter dash, the 200 and with the 4x100 relay team. He’s heading to state with the relay team this week with a baseball regional semifinal game at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday against Bradley Bourbonnais.

You might be wondering how he does it all.

“Winning doesn’t really care how tired you are,” George said. “Whether it’s after baseball games, practices, workouts, I try to make sure I go and get my sprint work in two to three times a week. Winning doesn’t care how your body feels, so I just keep working hard and trust in God’s plan to keep on pushing through and get all my work in.”

Minooka's Nate George crossing home plate during the non-conference game against Joliet Catholic on Monday, March. 11, 2024, at Joliet.

Make no mistake, this isn’t something every athlete is capable of. At 5-foot-11, 193 pounds with a blazing 60 time of 6.39, the baseball centerfielder has been able to get it done thanks in part to his natural athleticism.

“Athletes like this don’t come around very often,” track coach Nick Lundin said. “We’re fortunate enough that coach (Jeff) Petrovic and the baseball team have been awesome working with us this year. Coach Petrovic has actually come to a meet to watch us this year and support Nate. We’ve been to a few baseball games to watch him, too. It’s been pretty special, and I don’t think you’re able to do this with just anyone.”

George often ran just “the big meets” according to Lundin in order to keep his focus on baseball. It didn’t stop him from helping Minooka win a conference title or to send a relay team to state, and it hasn’t stopped his success in baseball either.

“He doesn’t really practice with us that much at all,” Lundin said. “He’s just got that God given talent. I’ve had zero issues with him, and he’s very positive around the team. Every interaction I’ve had with him has been positive. He’s a teenager and a kid with a lot going on in life, and as coaches I think we need to understand it’s not just about our sport. We communicate when we need to, but there’s no over-communication because of that.”

Once committed to play baseball for Eastern Illinois, George has since decommited and is preparing for the MLB draft in July. Should he be selected, the plan is to go pro right away. If not, he’s currently looking into several junior colleges around the country.

He’s not thinking about any of that now, however. He’s got a playoff game and a state meet to focus on this week and graduation coming up soon, too. Hopefully, if he’s not too busy, he can squeeze some sleep in there as well. But he’ll worry about that when the time comes.

“I think in season people can overthink it a little bit too much,” George said. “They’re only thinking about college and the next step and all that. I think you kind of need to live in the present, not the future. When you live in the future I think you can try and do too much and that can factor into your success. This season I’ve just been focusing on the present and taking it day by day.”