UVM’s Milo pulls double duty

You’ve read all the headlines that explain who has led the UVM men’s hockey team on their improbable run to sixth in the national standings – Pete Lenes the hometown hero, Viktor Stalberg the phenom and Rob Madore the freshman sensation.

However, there is one do-it-all athlete whose name always seems to escape the headlines, yet his accomplishments are many – sophomore Justin Milo.

Milo is a rare breed these days in the sense that not only is he a standout contributor to the men’s hockey team – his nine points currently rank him fifth on the Cats in scoring- but he also led the baseball team last season in batting average, runs, hits, triples, home runs, total bases, RBIs and slugging percentage.

“It’s always tough having to give up a sport and, luckily, I haven’t had to give up baseball or hockey yet,” Milo said.

Milo is a newcomer to the men’s hockey team this season, after transferring from Cornell last year and sitting out a season due to NCAA regulations.

“He’s been an unbelievable addition to our program,” men’s hockey coach Kevin Sneddon said.

One might think that Milo’s dual sport commitments would interfere with each other and cause a great deal of stress, yet, while Milo will be forced to miss some time on the diamond as he finishes out the hockey season, he sees each sport as a relief of stress rather than a cause of it.

“It’s tough but it’s also a lot of fun,” Milo said. “Each sport is kind of like an outlet for me – when hockey is tough, I like to go hit baseballs and, when baseball’s tough, it’s nice to get on the ice and skate.”

Any attempt at playing two sports is certainly dependent on the willingness of the respective coaches to allow their player to miss games and possibly risk injury in another sport, but both Sneddon and baseball coach Bill Currier have been respectful of Milo’s efforts here at UVM.

“There’s been very good communication between coach Currier and myself,” Sneddon said. “He can do a few things over with baseball once a week and the rest of the time he’s full-time hockey – once hockey’s done, he’s full-time baseball.

As for future aspirations in two sports he clearly excels at, Milo said he hasn’t given the topic much thought, keeping his thoughts firmly placed in the UVM athletic sphere.

However, those plans might change with the elimination of the Catamount baseball team following the 2009 season.

“I just want to keep both sports and all of my options open,” Milo said.

For now, both Sneddon and Milo remain happy that the latter has two years remaining on the ice in order to make his mark at UVM, two years which he will most likely cherish knowing that this season will be his last on the diamond for Vermont.

“I’m pretty lucky to play both sports and not too many people are able to do that,” Milo said.

“It takes a special athlete to be able to handle the stress of a Division I hockey season and then jump right into baseball,” Sneddon said. “Justin is just an all-around great student-athlete.”