The Quiet Dedication of Track 

The last time I was at a track meet was 8th grade. It was one of those track meets that all the Catholic school PE teachers in the Everett area make all the kids participate in, and half of those kids don’t take it seriously at all while the other half take it way too seriously. It was loud, chaotic, and crazy to be at. Because of this, I was pleasantly surprised by the quiet calm that was the Granite Falls track this afternoon as they hosted both Archbishop Murphy and Cedar Park Christian.

As I approached the team, I could overhear Coach Paul Turner talking strategy with 1600 meter runners Mackenzie Ryan (jr), Megan Dorney (jr), and Alaina Hines (sr). On the track, Caroline Adams (sr) and Tia Asher (so) practiced handoffs for their relay alongside Barrett Floyd (jr) and Jacob Lucas (sr). At the opposite end, Paul Schireman (sr) was prepping for his first time competing in high jump.

After a few events, I moved to the fence and waited for the excitement to pick up. The energy started to pick up as the girls 1600m race was called to the line; this was the race Coach Paul had been talking strategy for. Ryan, Dorney, and Hines all stepped to the line ready for the 4 laps that lay ahead of them. With the sound of the start gun, it quickly became evident what the strategy was: every 200m whichever one of the three was in the back would snake to the front in order to save energy for the last lap. Ryan ended up coming in first, with Hines and Dorney right on her heels.

The meet continued to pick up as the boys 4×100 meters team stepped up for their turn. After a quick high five given to me by Anfernee Gurley, he, along with his teammates, Max Kelleher, Schireman, and Raymond Pimentel, took their places around the track. It was only them and a team from Cedar Park Christian. Before I get to the actual race, I want to say one thing: I was very aware all four of these boys were very fast. I was still shocked by their race. Right from the start it was clear that CPC had no chance. Even finishing with a time of 45.22, though, the boys still weren’t satisfied. “We need to work on our handoffs. We’re trying to cut our time down to 43 seconds,” Schireman told me later. 

The afternoon only got better from there. Floyd won his heat of the boys 400m, Gurley and Holly Sudol (so) snagged the boys and girls 100m respectively, and Teresa Barron (sr) took the 3200m (wow) with ease. For the field events, Schireman and Sudol both clinched high jump, Ryan Kenny (fr) won long jump, and Regan Krueger took 2nd in pole vault. 

Also, a shoutout to one of my closest friends, Livia Haynes (jr), for giving me the honor of letting me wear her lettermans jacket and for PRing in the 800m. 

I had a great time at the meet; every single person in the team made me feel welcomed and appreciated. It really is a bummer more people don’t take the time to go out and watch track meets because it was clear to me that every member of the team has dedication. Dedication to making themselves better, helping their teammates get better, and being a good sport to their competitors. My suggestion is that if you have free time, go. Watch your friends run their race, even if it lasts only 45 seconds. I’d be happy to drive anytime. 

Common Denominators

I’ve been an avid fan of the AMHS boy’s soccer team since freshman year, when I started going mainly because a few of the guys in my biology class were on the team. That year the boys played the majority of their season at Tambark Park because the turf field was being installed at Terry Ennis Stadium. Forcing my mom to pick me up another 15 minutes away from my house that year was probably one of the best decisions I made. Sorry mom.

As anyone who keeps tabs on AMHS sports knows, that year, 2015, the team, under the leadership of phenom coaching duo Mike Bartley and Mike Boswell, won the 2A state championship game against Fife 3-0. Last year, the Wildcats took home the title once again, with a victory ensuing only after a shootout in which sophomore (at the time a freshman) goalkeeper Daniel Mycroft blocked 2 penalty kicks. This year, the team looks to claim a 3rd consecutive 2A state title. So far, they seem on track to do so.

But who are the common denominators you ask? In this extraordinary team, which players have been consistent in their roles these past two and a half seasons?

My answer: the following 7 seniors.

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, the class of 2017 boasts many phenomenal athletes. The Wildcat boy’s soccer team is lucky to have several of them among their ranks. Matt Williams, Jensen Crisler, Keaton Weyers, and Diego Rios are integral parts of the AMHS offense, while Ryan Henderson, Chase Whittaker, and Jacob Snider hold down the fort on defense.

Williams and Crisler form a pair up top that is nearly unstoppable; between Williams’ speed and Crisler’s physicality, it is rare to see a game go by where at least one of them doesn’t score. Weyers serves as a ball distributor in the middle, sending the ball up and out towards goal. Rios, like Williams, uses his speed to break past defenders and distribute the ball up top, or just shoot it himself.

In the back, Henderson serves as coordinator for the back line at center back. Comfortable in this position from his days as goalie, Henderson easily analyzes the fields and sends the ball up using his strong foot. Whittaker works on the outside, preventing opposing forwards from working down the sidelines while also bringing the ball up them himself. And Snider, although benched this year due to a surgery, typically serves in a similar position as Henderson, distributing the ball off of the back line.

These 7 players don’t completely make up the greatness that is the Wildcat soccer team. However, they’ve been key in the team’s success the past years and so far this season. This year, they are also serving as leaders and mentors to the younger players on the field, which I can already tell they are doing an amazing job at.

Come out and watch the boys at home anytime this season before they take on districts and, hopefully, state.

My 1st Time Watching Lacrosse

I sat down on the cold bleachers for the first time this spring, if you can even call it that yet, wrapped in blankets and hoping my first time watching lacrosse would be easy to understand, move quickly, and would be entertaining. At least it was entertaining.

Going into this game only knowing that lacrosse involved sticks, I was not prepared for the mash up of multiple different sports that it ended up being. With a penalty box like hockey, clock stopping like football, constant ball movement like soccer, but with a stick and a lot of body checking, I got a lot more than I planned for by going to lacrosse. But it was definitely fun to watch.

Entertaining is seriously the best word I can think of to describe lacrosse. The physicality of the defensive play, the quickness of the offense, and the crazy trick shots kept me watching throughout the entire game. Of course, it was made even more entertaining by the 3-man heckle squad made up of seniors Riley Quinton, Aleks Hansen, and Ben Harasek.

I was completely blown away by the performances of seniors Bennett Duffy and Joseph Doyle; the pair were the sole scorers in the Wildcat victory. Duffy scored 5 goals and Doyle netted the other 3, ending the game 8-5 over Bellingham. Other amazing performances, particularly defensively, were put on by seniors Will Doud and Hayden Smith. I’d also like to shout out freshman Cece Vaughn; that girl is awesome for playing on a guys team and still rocking it.

Check the AMHS calendar and come out to watch the Wildcat Lacrosse team play before the season is over!

Player Profile: Bennett Duffy

In 6th grade, AMHS senior Will Doud brought his lacrosse gear with him to school and asked classmate Bennett Duffy if he was interested in playing. Previously only playing basketball and soccer, Duffy then began to transition to the sport that would later become his passion. This season, as seniors on the AMHS lacrosse team, Duffy and Doud are shoe-ins to be co-captains, hoping to lead the mere 3 year old team to the state tournament.

Technically only a club at Archbishop Murphy due to the Title IX rule,  Duffy says it’s sometimes difficult because the lacrosse team isn’t always viewed in the same light as other sports. However, this is the least of the challenges Duffy has faced in his lacrosse career. “The head coach for Jackson High School, Coach Hess, once told me I wasn’t good enough to play on the top line,” he said. This moment of criticism prompted Duffy to work harder and has helped him to become the player he is today.

His favorite memory of his high school lacrosse career is beating Friday Harbor his sophomore year, the first win in the program’s history.

Duffy has committed to play at Notre Dame de Namur University in the fall of this year. There he looks forward to competing at a national, collegiate level. Along with the competition, he hopes he’ll have the opportunity to play on national television.

Although I’ve yet to go to an AMHS lacrosse game, or any lacrosse game, I look forward to seeing Duffy take the field with Doud and his other teammates in the coming weeks.

 

Player Profile: Chase Whittaker

Senior Chase Whittaker started playing soccer when he was just 5 years old. Although he followed for many years in his father’s footsteps, focusing his athletic career on baseball, Whittaker let his love for soccer take over in the 7th grade. He hasn’t stopped loving it since, and this year marks his 4th and final year with the Archbishop Murphy Wildcats’ varsity boys soccer team.

Under head coach Mike Bartley, Whittaker is utilized across the field. “In high school I end up playing all across the board,” he commented, “a little defensive mid, outside mid, and sometimes even forward.” It was for his role as outside back on his Rush club team however, that he got recruited to play soccer at the collegiate level by Linfield College.

“My mom always told me to pick a school I would want to stay at if for some reason I had to stop playing soccer,” Whittaker said of his decision to commit to Linfield. The team at Linfield is currently restructuring after losing a big senior class, and Whittaker saw this as an opportunity to hopefully play some freshman minutes. He says he’s always looked forward to the intensity and speed of collegiate ball.

Although winning 2 state championships with the AMHS team ranks pretty high on Whittaker’s list of favorite soccer memories, his biggest inspiration comes from two different sources. “I think the game we played against Shorecrest after Kristi had passed away  was probably the most inspirational moment of my soccer career. I’ll never forget the magic and the passion on the field that night,” he told me. Kristi Bartz, a captain of the girls soccer team and a prominent member of the AMHS community, was killed in a tragic accident in May 2015. Whittaker’s other source of inspiration is his late aunt, who he said was a,”born athlete and always challenging [him] to step out of [his] comfort zone.” She passed away from ovarian cancer just a few years ago.

You can see Chase Whittaker in action with the Wildcats for the last time this season as they chase a third consecutive state championship. So far this season the team is 1-0, beating East Valley this past Saturday 1-0.

Macho Volleyball

On one side of the court, Eat My Ace huddles anxiously during time out. Decked all out in their NBA jerseys, seniors Paul Schireman, Lucas Dini, Ben Harasek, Connor O’Brien, Riley Quinton, Will Doud, Chase Whittaker and Connor Johnson hope to take down Sets on a Beach for the championship. Across the court, wearing brightly colored swim shorts stand seniors Matt Williams, Jensen Crisler, Joseph Doyle, Keaton Weyers and juniors Trey Miller and Ben Hines.

Early in the match, Doud said, “Numbers don’t mean anything. Minor setback for a major comeback.” Although the game was close until the end, Eat My Ace pulled out the win over Sets at a Beach 25-23.

Throughout the evening there was never a lack of energy on the courts, even when teams weren’t doing so well. Between the decorated, ripped up t-shirts, breaking of rules, and lack of shorts, a fun night was had by all in support for Operation Rice Bowl, Archbishop Murphy’s Lenten fundraiser. Other events contributing the fundraiser later this month include the Mr. Murphy Pageant, bunco night, and powderpuff football.

Other competing teams:

 

Cabin Boyz 0-2, TBD 1-1, Brick Squad 1-1, Mongols 0-2