Consistency: AMHS Football Check-In

The Archbishop Murphy football team is currently 5-1 overall and undefeated in conference as we inch towards the end of the 2017 regular season. This year’s story is so far one of moderate consistency–both good and bad.

Senior running back Ray Pimentel has been the Wildcat’s shining example of positive  consistency this season. In Friday’s game against the Granite Falls Tigers, Pimentel had 21 carries, 10 first downs, and 3 touchdowns, consistent numbers when compared to his stats from the last 5 games. He’s currently leading the league with 965 rushing yards; he averages 9 yards per carry and 96.5 per game.  Pimentel has 15 recorded touchdowns.

Another consistent player for the Wildcats this season has been the rookie kicker, senior Omar Rodas. He has currently kicked an astounding 1,324 kickoff yards, made 29 out of 34 PAT attempts, and has completed 2 field goals, including a 51 yard one in the 3rd quarter during the match up against the Tigers.

However, numerous penalty calls per game have been plaguing the Wildcats since the start of the season. Against Granite Falls, the team had 8 penalties called against them, mostly holding and false start calls. That’s on top of the near 20 other penalties called in the last 3 games. Hopefully coaches can help resolve the holding issues as the post season creeps ever nearer.

Injuries have also been a negative consistency this season for Archbishop Murphy. Star players Kyler Gordon and Ben Hines were both out this Friday against Granite Falls with injuries. Senior Emmanuel Oshuoa is out for the season after having ACL surgery this summer. Other minor injuries have affected other players, leaving them out for a game or two. Healthy players are the key to success, and the Wildcats won’t be playing at their best level until all their members are healthy.

None of this is to say that the Archbishop Murphy boys can’t handle what’s coming at them as we look into the rest of the season. Part of playing a sport, especially a team one, is that you’re always improving and working together to better yourself and the team. Of course, the Wildcats are also lucky enough to have a phenomenal coaching staff.

Next Friday (10/13), the Wildcats will take on Cedar Park Christian in their first away game of the season at Juanita High School.

 

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Player Profile: Caroline Kowalchuk

Senior Caroline Kowalchuk has felt at home in the water since the 3rd grade, when she started swimming competitively for West Coast Aquatics. Now, she’s in her 4th year as a member of the AMHS girls swim team and her second year as captain.

Part of being a captain means putting the team’s needs before your own, and Kowalchuk is a great example of this idea. Her goal for this season is “that everyone swims their best times and comes out of the season feeling stronger and more accomplished than at the beginning of the season.”

A beast in the pool, Kowalchuk “swim[s] all the events at meets.” At state however, she says the plan is for her to swim the 200 meter freestyle along with either the 100m free (her favorite event) or the 500m free.

Last year at state, Kowalchuk placed 6th in the 500m free and 7th in the 200m free, setting a school record in the 200 with a time of 2:01.81.

When it comes to college, Kowalchuk would like to swim, but says it depends on where she goes. “Academics are my first priority, and if swimming helps, then I’ll continue to swim,” she added.

Catch Caroline Kowalchuk in the pool this season by checking out the season schedule and heading out to a meet!

TNF–Wildcat Edition

Thursday Night Football isn’t something you normally see in high school. But on Thursday, August 31,  four days after starting school, the AMHS student body took to the stands as the Wildcat football team took to the field. Despite it being a school night, the bleachers were packed–and all of it was broadcast live on ROOT Sports.

Following a season where all but one team in the Cascade Conference forfeited against the Wildcats, who ended up winning the 2A state title, coaches, fans, fellow football players, and news crews were excited to see what this year’s team would dish out in their home opener. Garfield High School was happy to take on AMHS for the televised game; they had their own share of media coverage when they knelt for the National Anthem during the 2016 season.

The story about this game, however, isn’t about the news crews, or the numbers, or even how two teams united to play football. No, the story of this game is how the young and old Wildcats came together to win their first football game.

After losing several key players at the end of last year, Coach Jerry Jensen had some positions he needed to fill. Most importantly, quarterback.

As second string QB last year behind alumni Connor Johnson, sophomore Victor Gabalis only saw limited reps. On Thursday, however, you could hardly tell. In his debut as starting quarterback, Gabalis completed several passes, including a 30 yard one to senior Ray Pimentel. He commanded the field with composure and ease in such an intense game.

Other freshman and sophomores that received substantial playing time included Zion Robinson (so.,LT/DE), Koli Faaiu (fr.,T/G/DE), and Josh McCarron (fr., special teams).

Obviously though, they weren’t alone on the field. The Wildcats still have several returning star players, including seniors Ben Hines, Ray Pimentel, and Kyler Gordon, to serve as mentors.

“We’re trying to teach [the younger players] to not get too big and out of the game because they get really caught up and worried about what’s going on,” senior captain Ben Hines said. “We want them to just play from their hearts and how they practice, and really just to calm down.”

Senior kicker Omar Rodas, taking over for the graduated Ryan Henderson, also deserves credit. In his first ever football game, he made all but one of his PAT attempts.

Thursday night’s game was about the meshing of old and new. It was about throwing new combinations into a game and seeing if they worked. Even though it was a win, it was also a learning experience, one that benefited both the young and old players.

The Wildcats have a long season ahead of them, with lots more learning to do. But Thursday’s 37-18 win is a sign that they’re heading in the right direction.

 

 

Beautiful Day for Baseball 

Parents, grandparents, and students alike filled the small section of bleachers at Roman Miller Field Friday afternoon as the Wildcats took on the Sultan Turks. Over the loud speaker boomed the steady voice of history teacher Tyler McLaughlin. As other spring sports practices ended, the stands filled more. It was a beautiful afternoon for baseball. 

Senior Travis Coop took the mound as the starting pitcher for the Wildcats. He, and the rest of his team, were sporting their brand new red jerseys. The Sultan Turks prepped for their turn to bat. 

I could list every hit and run of this game, but that would 1) take too long and 2) be pretty pointless. So instead I’m going to focus on a short recap of the 3rd inning, which was, in my opinion, the most exciting. 

During the top of the inning senior short stop and Seattle University commit Connor O’Brien had a very well executed double play, knocking out runners heading to 1st and 2nd, and sending the Turks off the field. 

Josh Madison (sr), O’Brien, Brandon King (so), Gabe Feliciano (jr) and one more player each added a run for the Wildcats during the 3rd inning. 

If you’re planning on coming out to watch some AMHS baseball, I suggest getting to the field early. And if you’re not planning on going to a baseball game, you should change your plans. 

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.

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.