Player Profile: Mackenzie Ryan

It’s safe to say that most people wouldn’t believe that senior Mackenzie Ryan has only become an avid runner since freshman year—she’s one of the best runners in the senior class. However, it’s the truth. “Everything started after I broke a 6 minute mile for the first time my freshman year,” Mackenzie said. Now she’s been a captain for both the cross country and track teams, runs year round when her health allows her to do so, and is a pre- and post-race nutrition queen.

“As a senior, I just want to set an example for the team to always, always, always do their best whatever the situation may be,” she told me, hoping that she’s able to pass that legacy on after she leaves.

Runner’s spend the whole year training, typically only taking 4 weeks off a year. Archbishop Murphy’s teams alternate easy runs, long runs, speed workouts, tempo runs, and cross training such as swimming and biking in order to not wear themselves and their muscles out. They also spend time in the weight room with AMHS’ IRG certified trainer Coach Jordan.

Mackenzie’s favorite part of preparing for track meets though? Definitely the food. “Team pasta dinners before invites are the best. Pasta before any race is essential,” she laughed, “I love a smoothie post race.”

When it comes to traditions and inspiration, there’s one person very close to Mackenzie’s heart. “I’ll forever admire Kristi Bartz’s selflessness and positivity, as well as her ambition to perform,” she said. Kristi, a senior captain for the track team Mackenzie’s freshman year, passed away in an accident that spring during the season. The two ran similar events and trained together during practice.

The 3200m (2 mile) race is Mackenzie’s favorite. She loves endurance races, and the strategy required to run the 2 mile adds to her love for it. Although she’s still building back up to running the 2 mile at meets after some health issues earlier this year, Mackenzie hopes to return to the event later in the season.




March, 2016. Talys Jurdana jumps up for a rebound in club basketball practice and tears her ACL by landing wrong. Two months later, in May, she has surgery and starts the recovery process.

Less than a year later, in January of 2017, seven months post-op, she tears the same ACL again during a game.

Each year, between 250,000 and 300,000 people, almost entirely athletes, suffer from an ACL injury. The ACL, the smallest of four ligaments in the knee, helps control rotational movement. Most physicians recommend that athletes take 6 months off before returning to their sport after an ACL injury, but some advise taking an entire year for recovery.

Although basketball doesn’t cause as many ACL injuries as football or soccer, sports medicine physicians have seen a recent uptick in ACL injuries within the NBA, according to the Andrews Institute of Orthopedics and Medicine. This is due to the high amount of cutting, or changing direction at a high speed, that occurs in the sport. Some physicians also believe the hardwood floor plays a role.

By the time high school basketball season rolled around this past November, Talys had a decision to make. She had spent enough time in therapy and recovering after her second surgery in February, that she technically was able to play. She had joined the AMHS swim team, creating a competitive outlet and helping her knee by using it with no impact. That decision on whether or not to play her senior season was one of the hardest she’s ever had to make.

“I was letting go of my last high school season, and the last chance to play alongside my best friends,” she said. However, she said the decision ended up being very clear after one of Archbishop Murphy’s IRG physical therapists, Robb Lamb, asked her, “Would you rather play one mediocre risky high school season, or four good years in college with a healthy knee?”

Playing college basketball has been one of Talys’ dreams since she was a little girl. Last August, she visited the University of Redlands and fell in love with the campus, the people, and the basketball program. After visiting again in October, she knew Redlands was her “dream school” and she signed on to play with them soon after.

Knowing that she had a college basketball career ahead of her didn’t take away the pain of watching her team play without her this season, however. “Not being able to play this year was really hard for me. I just love the game and playing with my teammates so much,” she told me. “I really had to change my mindset from being a player to an assistant coach.”

This change of mindset helped her realize that someday she wants to be a basketball coach, and she now coaches the 8th grade girls North Creek select team and is a full time trainer at Trust Basketball in Mukilteo.

The rest of the Wildcat girls basketball team wasn’t ready to let Talys go without playing at least a few minutes this season. So on February 2, 2018, the basketball program’s senior night, Talys started for the first time in almost two years. “It was all I could’ve hoped for,” she said, “To be honest I was really nervous, but the minute I heard everybody cheering all my fears stopped.” And she was right. Everybody was cheering.

Every time she went up for a basket, students would stand in anticipation, parents would hold their breath, and all of her teammates were ready to get the ball back to her. She went in and out of the game, resting her knee, talking to Coach Snyder, and, at halftime, practicing more three pointers. Her moment finally came after she was fouled with just under three minutes left in the game.

She sunk one point. And then another. And everyone cheered.

Then with 1:41 left in the game, she finally sunk the three pointer everyone had been waiting for the whole night. And it was amazing.

“Most people would look at what I have gone through in the last two years as tragic, however, I think it has been one of the biggest blessings in my life,” she stated, “I have learned to fight back when life doesn’t go your way, and that working hard is the best way to reach your dreams.”



Player Profile: Izzy Lucas

Isabella Lucas, or Izzy as most of her friends call her, is the 3rd child of 7 in the Lucas family and one of 4 to currently play or have played varsity basketball at Archbishop Murphy.

“I started playing basketball in third grade because my mom wanted me to try it,” Izzy told me, “Turns out I actually liked it.” After a year of playing recreationally, she went on to play select basketball for multiple clubs, including Wolfpack and Northside, between 4th and 9th grade.

This year is Izzy’s fourth year playing varsity basketball for AMHS, and her second year as captain alongside her best friend Maddie Hill. “I’ve loved playing varsity for four years because the team has become like my family,” she said.

In fact, one member of the AMHS varsity team is actually her family. Izzy’s younger sister, Julia, a sophomore forward, regularly starts for the Wildcats. Although at first it was weird for Izzy to play on the same team as her sister, she feels that it’s ultimately brought them closer and created a special bond between them.

While she admitted that she doesn’t do much training outside of basketball practice, Izzy joined the AMHS swim team to get into shape leading up to her final season with the Wildcats. Her parents supported this decision, and Izzy is extremely grateful for the support and encouragement her parents have given her throughout many years of playing basketball.

As the Wildcats look to end the regular season undefeated and leading the Cascade Conference, Izzy hopes to return to districts and state. “My favorite AMHS basketball memory is going to state and districts last year,” Izzy added.

Catch Izzy Lucas and the Wildcat basketball team in one of their final regular season home games by checking the AMHS or Cascade Conference websites for the schedule.

Player Profile: Kyler Gordon

Senior Kyler Gordon received his very first D1 college offer last summer after only 2 seasons of high school ball. Now, he’s accumulated a total of 11, including offers from Notre Dame, Stanford, and University of Washington. Oh, and all of them are full ride.

Gordon didn’t start playing football until he was 10, when his friend’s family introduced him to the sport. Since then, he’s played “every position”, including running back, wide receiver, quarter back, and defensive back while in high school. “Colleges want me to play corner back,” he said.

Over 4 years as a member of the Archbishop Murphy varsity football team, Gordon has accumulated 715 rushing yards, 1,610 receiving yards, 4 defensive touchdowns, 9 rushing touchdowns, and 18 receiving touchdowns. According to ESPN, he’s the 3rd top recruit in Washington, and is 29th corner back recruit in the nation.

Gordon’s biggest inspirations to become a better athlete are his dad and cousin.

His favorite Murphy traditions include going to mass before each game together in the Chapel, and praying the Hail Mary on the field.

“My goal for myself is 14 interceptions and for the team I want a repeat of the state championship,” he said. So far he has 2 interceptions this season, and hasn’t even played in the last 3 games. In terms of taking the state title again, the Wildcats have 2 more regular season games before diving into districts.

The Wildcat football team returns home for Senior Night against the Cedarcrest Red Wolves on October 27th.

Player Profile: Victor Gabalis

Sophomore Victor Gabalis began playing quarterback in 8th grade because he had the chance to start and wanted to “take the opportunity”. 2 years later, he’s QB1 for Archbishop Murphy’s varsity team and is currently leading the league with *384 passing yards.

In somewhat a turn of events, Gabalis ended up at AMHS after playing for the Cedarcrest Jr football team in Duvall since he was 10. “I chose Murphy because I wanted to be at a Catholic school that would provide good education for college,” Gabalis said. Cedarcrest is also a member of the Cascade Conference like AMHS.

Gabalis’ pre-game ritual includes the team dinner, of course, and listening to “Carry On” by Kid Ink. “My favorite team dinner is spaghetti,” he shared.

During the game, Gabalis is all business. So far this season he’s had 22 completions, 4 passing touchdowns, and only 2 interceptions, a stat he’s made a goal out of not having change. He averages 17.5 yards per completion and 96.0 yards per game.

Gabalis hopes starting this season will help him get early looks for college football and that he’ll be able to carry his team to a state title, just like last year’s quarterback, Connor Johnson, who also wore the number 11, did.

Victor Gabalis will lead the Wildcat offense tonight (Friday 9/29) in Archbishop Murphy’s homecoming game against Sultan High School. Come to the game and see his talent for yourself!

*all stats are according to

Player Profile: Matt Welter

Senior tennis superstar Matt Welter starts his warm ups before each match by listening to “I Am A God” by Kanye West. Although it may seem silly, obviously it works. Matt’s record so far this season is 3-2, and his 2 losses have been against the best players in the league.

When he’s on the court however, his record doesn’t matter to him. “I’m always analyzing the previous play and my opponent so I can make my next shot be a winner,” Matt said.  To him, “it’s all about strategy.”

During this past off season, Matt prepared by playing year round for the Mill Tennis Club at the champs level. He also played in USTA champs tournaments, where he competed against some of the best players in the state and even some from across the country. ‘

As a singles player, Matt enjoys the fact that he “has no one to blame or praise except for [himself].” This season, he hopes to take 1st or 2nd in districts and qualify for state. If he makes it to state, he wants to be “very competitive and finish in the top 4.”

Matt Welter and the rest of the Wildcat tennis team take on South Whidbey today (Thursday, 9/28), so wish them luck!

Player Profile: Gabi Koch

In a district game against Liberty High School during the 2016 season, Wildcat’s assistant soccer coach Mike Boswell turned to Gabi Koch and said two words: hammer down. “I knew exactly what he meant,” Koch remembered, “That’s my absolute favorite soccer memory hands down.”

This season, Koch, a junior, is a captain hoping to get her team back to the same place they were at when last season concluded by leading through example. “This season I want to help my teammates on and off the field so that we can get right back to the final four of the state tournament,” Koch said.

Koch started playing soccer when she was only 5 years old, but it didn’t become her main sport until she was 8. Now, along with playing for the Archbishop Murphy varsity team, she plays for the Greater Seattle Surf team in her age division. For both teams, she plays center attacking midfielder her “absolute favorite position.”

Koch’s motivation for continuing to better her game is truly inspiring. “My biggest motivator would be my close family friend Jake Eastwood,” answered Koch. At age 13, Jake was forced to have one of his legs amputated due to an osteosarcoma. “He’s still one of the most athletic and uplifting people I know,” Koch added, “Knowing him and his story will always inspire me.”

Watch Gabi Koch take the field with the Wildcats at home this season at Terry Ennis Stadium.