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.

 

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.

Emily’s Spring Sports Predictions 

It’s already been a fantastic year for Archbishop Murphy sports. Girls soccer and volleyball both placed 3rd in state, football won the state title, girls basketball is playing for the district championship this week, and boys basketball needs 2 wins for a state berth. Individual sports, such as cross country, swimming, and wrestling, have all sent or are sending athletes to compete in state tournaments.

With tryouts for spring sports just over a week away, here are my predictions for how all the Wildcat sports teams will do in their 2017 season. (None of them are bad because, let’s face it, the Class of 2017 is a phenomenally talented and athletic class, and many of them play spring sports.)

Boy’s Soccer

Losing only one starting senior last year, the Wildcats will be fielding mostly all returning players this season as they look to take the state title for the 3rd year in a row. With powerhouse senior Matt Williams up top, assisted by Jensen Crisler (sr) and Isaac Feeney (jr), and a midfield and defensive front consisting of Sam Johnson (jr), Jake Snider (sr), Chase Whittaker (sr) and goalie Daniel Mycroft (sp), it doesn’t seem far fetched that the boys could bring home the state title again this season. Preseason games are still undecided, as many 3A and 4A teams don’t want to risk their RPI rankings by losing to the Wildcats, but make sure to find time to come out and support the boy’s soccer team. I know I’ll be at as many games as possible.

Girl’s Tennis

Last year, senior Lauren Braswell was the only AMHS tennis player to make districts, with 1st-alternate being Hannah Van Hollebeke. This year, Van Hollebeke is a junior and I’m prepared to see her kick some butt on the court and push through to the district tournament. Also, keep an eye out for seniors Natalie Sizelove and Maddy Williams either as a doubles pair or as singles this season.

Baseball

The Wildcat baseball team is another team poised to go far in districts and possibly state. Led by seniors Parker Sand, Connor O’Brien,  Aleks Hansen, and several others, the team has a good shot of returning to districts again this year and making a run at state. Catch them on Roman Miller Field this spring in their spiffy new uniforms.

Softball

Coaching changes this year have put assistant football coach Damien Holman and dean of students Jeff Latta in the position filled for many years by Stephanie Harmon. However, I don’t expect this to put a damper on the girls’ season. Although they lost several seniors last year, the team should be returning several strong players such as Yutanee Ryan and Mackenzie Treece, while also seeing the involvement of several new players. I’d keep my eye on the softball team this year; I’ve seen Latta coach powderpuff before, and if he can do half as well coaching this team, they’ll be in good shape.

Track & Field

AMHS boasts a large track & field team, consisting of many talented people. From cross country runners Josh Rauvola (jr), Teresa Barron (sr), and Mackenzie Ryan (jr) running the 3200m and 1600m, to football players Paul Schireman (sr), Martin Napeahi (jr), and Kobe Moorhead (jr) doing long jump, discus, and shotput, to soccer player Tia Asher (sp) running the 400m, make sure you look out for these guys throughout the season. I predict several of them will place in conference, at districts and possibly even at state. I’m definitely planning to make my way to a few meets this season because this team is star studded.

Boy’s Golf

The boy’s golf team also has several returning seniors, 3 of whom placed top 10 at districts last season. Steve Shih, Matthew Pabisz, and Jack McClincy, along with junior Fulton Brawner, should once again prove to be forces to reckon with on the course. Possibly the best dressed Murphy sport’s team, take some time to go watch golf this season.

Girl’s Golf

Coach Cassie Snyder is turning herself into a 3 sport coach this season by stepping up to coach golf. The team last year was small, but who knows, maybe there’ll be a bigger turnout this year.

Boy’s Lacrosse 

This should be a good year for the boy’s lacrosse team. The youngest Murphy sports team, only 3 years old, the lacrosse team is technically, because of Title IX, not a sanctioned AMHS team. However, led by seniors Bennett Duffy, Joseph Doyle, and Will Doud, lacrosse will definitely be a sport you should come out and watch this season. 

AMHS Boys Varsity Basketball: Pieces to the Puzzle 

Puzzles serve as a great metaphor for many things in life. One thing it’s particularly easy to compare a puzzle to is a sports team. Everything from the practices to who plays what position to what the coach is like comes together to form the big picture of the team or the team’s goal. Without one piece, the puzzle cannot be completed just like a team isn’t complete without all of it’s aspects.

Recently I caught up with a few members from the AMHS boys varsity basketball team to try and put together the puzzle of their team and the 2016-2017 season. Currently 4-2 in conference and 8-4 overall, the team falls second in Cascade Conference rankings to rival Kings High School, who they lost to by only 7 points last Friday night. This puzzle is about so much more than just wins and loses though, so here’s what I found out about some of the puzzle pieces helping to make the Wildcat’s click.

Practice. Junior forward Trey Miller, who has been playing basketball for 10 years, said during practice the team works on a lot of positional and individual skill work. “We spend some time on offensive and defensive sets too,” he added. Practices usually concludes with scrimmage time.

Brotherhood. Just from watching the team play together, you can tell they have a strong bond. From making jokes on the court to supporting each other from the bench, the team is visibly comfortable with each other and enjoy playing as a team. “The team is super fun to be around all the time. It’s a great group of guys,” Sam Johnson, junior guard, commented.

Coach. The Wildcats hired a new head coach this year, Anthony Slater. Slater played in college and several professional leagues; he’s spent the past few years coaching a Washington Elite AAU national team. The AMHS team had good things to say about him. “He gives us the freedom to just play basketball,” Jeric Williams, another junior guard said, “instead of giving us particular plays every time.”

Passion. “I’ve been playing basketball ever since I could remember,” Johnson said. Williams added for himself, “I love everything about the game. I love the atmosphere, the adrenaline during games, and the ability to make plays.”

The Goal. “This team is creating a new name for AMHS basketball,” Miller said. The team’s focus is to go win by win and make it to the Cascade Conference Championship, which will be happening in a few weeks. Of course, from there the goal would be to continue moving forward win by win into the post season.

And there you have it. Some of the most important pieces to this 2016-2017 AMHS boys varsity basketball team. Keep an eye out for them in the next few weeks, because I assume they’ll be doing some pretty big things.