The Multi-Talented Members of Wildcat Basketball

Students at Archbishop Murphy are generally very involved in school activities. With the multitude of sports, electives, and extra-curricular activities at AMHS, it’s not hard to find one or more things you enjoy being involved in, or at least think would look good on your college transcript.

One place it’s easy to see the crop of multi-talented students Archbishop Murphy boasts is within it’s girls and boys basketball programs. Several players are multi-sport athletes with offers from colleges, and a few also participate in academic clubs and leadership roles. Let’s take a look at these players.

Megan Dorney (jr; F): Dorney ran varsity cross country this season, placing 7th in conference and 39th in districts. She was named 1st team all-conference. Dorney is also a member of AMHS Deca.

Chloe Morrison (sr): Morrison has been a member of the Wildcat Band for a few years at AMHS. She plays the clarinet.

Hannah Noceda (sr; G): Noceda has played soccer for the Wildcats all 4 of her years here. This year the team took 3rd in the state competition.

Jamie Cymbaluk (sr; F):  Cymbaluk, a forward for the Wildcat girls JV team, was starting outside hitter for the volleyball team this season as they led a 21-1 season and placed 3rd in the state. She was named 1st team all league for this season. Next fall, she has committed to play at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

Abe Lucas (sr; C): Lucas is just as much as a powerhouse on the basketball court as he was this season on the football field, thanks in part to his height (6’8″). He’s a dominant point scorer for the basketball team, a much different role than he’s used to on the football field, where he plays outside tackle and defensive end. Lucas has committed to Washington State University to play football.

Sam Johnson (jr; G): Johnson’s main sport is soccer, which he plays at AMHS and for his Rush team. Last season he was named 1st team all conference and 2nd team all state as a defender while the team coasted to their second 2A state title in a row. Johnson has also been a class officer all three of his years so far at AMHS.

Kyler Gordon (jr; W): Gordon is best known for being a phenomenal talent on the football field. Already boasting offers from the University of Oregon, UCLA, and the University of Washington, he has one more year to play at Archbishop Murphy, where he is also famous for his celebratory back flips.

Connor Johnson (sr; F): Johnson was the starting varsity quarterback for the Wildcats his junior and senior seasons. Over those 2 seasons he passed for a total of 3,352 yards and had 44 passing TDs. He was a leader on and off the field this year, keeping the team lighthearted as they faced unforeseeable difficulties during the season. Johnson currently has 3 offers to play college ball.

Jackson Yost (sr; PF): Yost has played defensive tackle on the AMHS varsity team for 3 years. He currently has offers from multiple schools, including Columbia and Dartmouth. Yost is also an ASB officer this year.

Anfernee Gurley (sr; G): Gurley dominated the football field this season, helping to lead the Wildcats to their first 2A state title despite the teams tumultuous season. This year he had a total of 1,432 rushing yards and 1,501 receiving yards. Recently, he committed to play football at Eastern Washington University.

Both the girls and boys varsity teams are currently 5-2, with games and tournaments scheduled over the break before resuming conference games in January. I’ve heard from several players that they are confident in this season, both the boys and the girls, their teammates, and their coaches. Make sure to get out and watch them before the season is over.

*F,G,C,PF and W denote players basketball position

**stats have been taken from


Fall Sports Wrap-Up: The Lessons We’ve Learned 

Archbishop Murphy’s 2016 fall sports season was easily one of the most exciting in school history. Every sport saw a state berth, and three saw top 3 rankings. But this season was more than just competition, it was learning about ourselves, our teammates, and our school. 

Football: Adversity makes us better. 

I’m sure a recap of everything the football team went through this year is unnecessary, as it was broadcast and talked about internationally. Through all of the season’s drama however, the team grew even closer and more focused. And in the end, they won Archbishop Murphy their first 2A state title which was exactly what they set out to do, proving that adversity can make us better. 

Girls Soccer: Never stop believing. 

As a member of the team, I’m allowed to say that at the beginning of the season, none of us thought we’d make it to districts. The idea of us going to state was something to laugh about. But as the season went on, and the team made adjustments, we started winning more and making comebacks that seemed impossible. In the final stretch from districts to state, we didn’t stop believing in ourselves and each other and we ended up placing 3rd in the state competition. 

Volleyball: Things don’t always work out the way we expect them to, and that’s okay. 

Going into the 2016 season, the Wildcat volleyball team was a top contender for the state title. With such a stellar team, it seemed inevitable. But in the end, after going undefeated the entire season, the team lost in the semi-finals to Tumwater, who went on to win the state title. After the loss, however, they bounced back and still placed third, the highest AMHS volleyball has placed since 2009 and three places higher than they placed in 2015. Things didn’t necessarily work out the way they, and almost everyone else, expected them to, but it worked out in the end and they made the school proud. 

Cross Country & Girls Swim: Hard Work Pays Off 

The Wildcat cross country team sent two runners to the state competition this year, junior Josh Rauvola and senior Teresa Barron. Both pack difficult school schedules and Josh has a history of injury.  But due to the work they put in throughout the season, the pair were both top competitors in the state meet, Josh placing 2nd and Teresa 29th out of over 100. For girls swim, junior Caroline Kowalchuck’s hard work throughout the school season and her club season also paid off; she placed 7th in the 200 free and 6th in the 500 free. 

Boys Tennis: Effort and dedication is key. 

The Archbishop Murphy boys tennis team is easily the proudest team at the school. Although not the winningest, members never talk bad about their team or the game and always give 100% to the commitment they made. They teach us each year that being dedicated to your sport and putting effort into it makes it more enjoyable and builds a brotherhood. 

2016 AMHS Football: The Season for the Record Books 

It’s November 28, 2015. The Archbishop Murphy Wildcats have just lost to Tumwater in the 2A state semi finals at the Tacoma Dome. But they didn’t lose hope. The team immediately promised that they’d be back in 2016, looking for the ring. And boy what a journey they went on to get to today, December 3, 2016. 

July/August 2016. 

The football team officially begins practicing for the 2016 season, welcoming several new comers including Colin Montez (sr) and Raymond Pimentel (jr). As a team, they participate in a service project which provides food for homeless people in the community. 


The Wildcats win their home opener in a stunner against 3A Issaquah, 73-0. Then beat 3A Bishop Blanchet 59-0. And then defeat rival Kings 38-0. On September 20th, word spreads that South Whidbey has decided to forfeit their Friday game against AMHS due to safety concerns; the Falcons roster less than 20 healthy players. But Sultan also forfeits the following week, despite having won their first 4 games. 


Granite Falls becomes the next to bow out, after practically promising they would take on the Wildcats. The school hosts a press conference on October 5th, and Archbishop Murphy begins to gain national, and even international media coverage. The following week, Cedar Park Christian also forfeits, and the Wildcats lose their originally scheduled homecoming game. However, due to a homecoming delay due to weather, the dance is moved to the next week, when Olympic has committed to play the Wildcats. Crowds flock to Terry Ennis Stadium to watch Archbishop Murphy play for the first time in a month, and the Wildcats win the game 48-0. To end the regular season, Cedarcrest also forfeits. 


District seeding places Archbishop Murphy in 3rd, and the Wildcats take on Burlington-Edison for a state tournament berth. The Tigers become the first team to put points on the board against the Wildcats in the 2016 season; 55-6 is the final score of the game. Archbishop Murphy marches on into state. North Kitsap falls 34-0 in the first round. Then the Wildcats get their revenge on Tumwater 48-10. Then they crush Lynden 52-14 for their golden ticket to the dome. 

December 3rd, 2016 

We’re in the Tacoma Dome. It’s 1pm and an anticipatory silence falls over the entire crowd as the National Anthem is played. There are rows upon rows of AMHS students, crammed together so close there’s no room to move in and out. Many students wear “Recruited by Christ” t-shirts; the senior Splash Zone wears them under their beach gear to honor QB Connor “Splash” Johnson. 

It’s 1:04. Liberty kicks onside to begin the game. 55 seconds into the game, Johnson lofts the ball to Pimentel 60 yards for a touchdown. The student body erupts. 6:54 into the game, Montez runs 6 yards for a touchdown. 9:52 Johnson throws a 56 yarder to fellow senior  Anfernee Gurley to add 7 points after the kick by Henderson. 

It’s the second quarter. Montez turns a 3rd down into a touchdown 18:32 into the game. At 20:53, Kyler Gordon, who because of his offensive and defensive plays was obviously the games MVP, although an argument could be made for Johnson, adds another 7. With just 4 seconds until the half, Liberty puts their own 7 on the board. 

It’s halftime. Archbishop Murphy is winning 35-7. The AMHS cheer squad concludes their new routine by all doing the splits. A team of 11 seniors competes in a tire rolling competition against Liberty, coming from behind to win. 

It’s 2:35. This time Henderson kicks off the half, sending the ball out of the back of the endzone. 26:56 into the game Gordon adds 20 yards onto his 30 yard reception from Johnson for a touchdown. 33:12 Gurley adds 20 yards to a 50 yard pass from Johnson for his own touchdown. Gordon picks up a fumbled ball at the 38:43 mark and returns it for another touchdown. With under 5 minutes left in the game, Liberty scores again, but it’s over. The second string Wildcats step on the field, symbolizing their take over for next season. A beaming student body sings “We are the Champions” off key. Victory formation is taken. The student body bids goodbye to Liberty, but also to an insane football season. And then finally, they countdown the last ten seconds. 56-14. And the Wildcats are  2A State football champions for the first time in school history. 

I’ve never been more proud to be a part of the Archbishop Murphy community. Through a turbulent season full of adversity, I’m proud to be at a school where we know how to stay level headed. I’m proud to say I’ve been here through this record book season, when the football team outscored opponents nearly 500-50. I’m proud to know Connor Johnson, someone who works hard on and off the field and deserves a lot more offers than he currently has. I’m proud to have known WSU commit Abe Lucas and his family since I was in kindergarten, someone who has never been ashamed of his faith and is a beast on the field. I’m proud to be in the same graduating class as some of the best linemen in the state. I’m proud to celebrate this victory with all of them. I am proud to be a Wildcat.