Player Profile: Yutanee Ryan

Joining the softball team her sophomore year, senior Yutanee Ryan was just looking for another fun activity to participate in at school. Three seasons later, she’s grown to love the sport and the teammates she plays it with.

Math teacher Stephanie Harmon had been the softball coach at AMHS up until this year. She was the first softball coach Ryan ever had. “Harmon set the basics down for me: how to throw a ball, catch pops, field grounders, hitting, and just learning the game itself,” she said. This year, dean of students Jeff Latta and football coach Damien Holman have taken over coaching positions for the team. From them, Ryan says she’s learned how to use all her body power when swinging and throwing.

Ryan is an outfielder for the team, and she says she loves it because it helps her avoid her weakness. “I’m not great at ground balls,” she laughed.

Her favorite memories though, don’t come from the field. It’s the bus rides after games, especially wins, that Ryan loves the most. “Softball is such a team game. When I go up to the plate, my thought is never ‘I have to get a base hit’ it’s more like ‘I need to hit something to help my teammate get home,” she added.

The Wildcats are looking to close out a solid season in the next 2 weeks with some strong final games and head on to the district tournament. Yutanee Ryan and her fellow seniors will be celebrated for senior night this Thursday, 4pm, on the Upper Field at AMHS.

Player Profile: Jensen Crisler

Jensen Crisler is a four year varsity member of the Wildcat soccer team. Playing forward, he’s been a crucial piece of the team, especially the past two seasons. A leading scorer, Crisler has also taken on a new role this year as a senior, one which he has embraced fully.

Crisler’s times as a soccer player started long before his freshman year at Archbishop Murphy. “My dad wanted to coach me,” he said about the start of his soccer career. Coming from a big soccer family, he put on his first pair of cleats when he was only three years old. He’s played hundreds of games since then; including, of course, Archbishop Murphy’s two state championship games.

This year, Crisler has taken on a new role as team captain. Selected last year by teammates, he, along with fellow seniors Matt Williams and Ryan Henderson, have been tasked with being role models both on and off the field.  When asked about what his personal goals for the season are, he humbly replied, “I don’t have any personal goals. I just like to help the team achieve our main goals which are: one, win league, districts, and state; two, allow only 5 goals against us all season; and three, stay focused until the season is over.”

As the number of games he has left with the Wildcats winds down, Crisler says he wants his teammates to be able to remember him as a leader and someone who was, and still is, like family to them. “What I’ve learned from high school soccer is that your team is your family. We’d do anything for each other and we all look out for each other,” he added.

Having played soccer for 15 years now, Crisler has decided to hang up his cleats after his time with the Wildcats is done. “I want to focus on school. I plan to play many intramural sports to make up for not playing soccer though,” Crisler says of his college plans.

Catch Jensen Crisler and the Wildcat soccer team in their last home conference match and Senior Night this Friday, April 28th, at Terry Ennis Stadium against Cedar Park Christian. Game time is 6pm.

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.

Player Profile: Barret Floyd

Barret Floyd

Class of 2018

Wrestling

 

Floyd started wrestling in 6th grade after failing to make the schools basketball team. “I was awful at basketball, but luckily wrestling stuck.” His favorite move is called the Cow Catcher, which involves a front headlock and an underhook, and can typically result in a pin. The move is his favorite because it was the first move he achieved a pin from and is the one he uses most often to pin his opponents.

“The biggest misconception about wrestling is how difficult it is. Wrestling practice, let alone a wrestling match, have been some of the most physically demanding moments of my life.” Floyd explained.

He also explained that he loves the sport because of his teammates. “I’m not good enough to be a state champ. I like wrestling because every day during practice, when I am sweating or sometimes bleeding, I look to the left and right and see my boys. I know that they’re going through the same thing.” Floyd also told me about some of his favorite memories with the team, including eating burgers late at night and pulling each other around in an old truck tire.

Floyd is also a leading member of the cross country team.

 

Player Profile: Maddie Hill

Maddie Hill

Junior (’18)

Varsity Girl’s Basketball, Guard, #4

Maddie Hill is an explosive player on Coach Snyder’s 6-3 varsity girls basketball team. Averaging 7 points per game*, she’s scored 42 points over the course of 6 games this season. On Tuesday night versus the Sultan Turks, I watched her put up 2 three’s in a row effortlessly. A transfer last year to Archbishop Murphy, this is her second year on the team.

When not on the court for the Wildcats, Hill plays for the Seattle Future Black team. The team trains rigorously, bringing in renowned NBA and WNBA skills trainer Chris Hyppa once a week. On top of that the team practices 2-3 times each week for about 2.5 hours each day.

Hill has been playing basketball since she was 4, and says her favorite part of playing the game is surprising people with her ability because of her height. She stands 5’4″, a full 6 inches shorter than her tallest teammate. But Hill’s height doesn’t matter on the court, as her stats prove she is a powerful player.

When asked about what she’s looking forward to this season with the Wildcats, Hill said, “I can’t wait to see how far we go this season. We have grown so much as a team and I’m excited to see what we can do if and when adversity hits.”


*all stats taken from MaxPreps.com