For many, transitioning from playing one sport to three completely different ones would be a challenge, but not for junior Morgan Ryan who has thrived in athletics almost her whole life.
“I’ve been playing sports since I was five,” Ryan said. “I played soccer until eighth grade when my parents wanted me to try some different sports.”
Ryan’s parents suggested trying out for field hockey, despite her love of soccer.
“I was upset about having to quit soccer,” Ryan said. “It wasn’t really my decision, it was my dad’s. I did get to learn a lot more about athletics, and I had had a few bad experiences with my coach. I’m glad that I had the good experience of playing different sports, but I do miss soccer.”
When Ryan’s parents told her to try out for the field hockey team, they said that it didn’t matter if she made varsity, as long as she tried her best and made the team. It came as a huge surprise when she made varsity.
“I had heard that they were putting the rosters up online,” Ryan said. “The next day people were congratulating me and I was so confused! That night I went home and saw that I was on the team.”
Senior Hailey Miller, who co-captained the field hockey team with Ryan this past season, says that Ryan is a great player.
“Morgan is a quick learner,” Miller said. “If you tell her to do something, she’ll do it. She is a smart player; she thinks before she makes a play. I have loved playing with Morgan.”
In the winter, Ryan runs track and has been on the varsity sprint team since her freshman year. This year her 4×4 relay team came fourth at the state meet and broke the school record of 4:16, finishing the race in 4:11.
“During warm-ups before the race, we were all really pumped up, but really nervous,” Ryan said. “After we ran, we were all just waiting to find out if we had broken the record. We had given it everything we had, and when we found out we had broken it, it was surreal. It was like we were on top of the world.”
In the spring, instead of trying out for the soccer team, Ryan decided to play lacrosse. She has been on the varsity team since her freshman year and is now a co-captain of the team.
“I was on the varsity team freshman year, but I played in a lot of JV games,” Ryan said. “I was completely new at the sport, and it was so different from field hockey. I had never played a sport in the air before and it was really weird.”
According to Ryan, the biggest challenge that comes from transitioning between such different sports is following the rules.
“I’m still pretty new at my sports,” Ryan said. “A lot of times when there is a call on the field, I have to ask what it means. There is also a huge mental and physical difference to the sports.”
Along with participating in school sports, Ryan does Tae Kwon Do and will soon be testing for her yellow belt.
“My mom really wanted to do it, but she didn’t want to do it alone,” Ryan said. “My brother started classes, and I ended up sitting in on one and thought that it would be fun.”
Ryan plans on getting her black belt before college, and on taking Tae Kwon Do as an elective if it is offered.
“At first, it was so intense and freaky,” Ryan said. “Then I started getting the hang of it. It was so different from anything I’ve ever done; it is completely individual, and the mentality is different from other sports.”
Although Ryan does have some regrets about leaving soccer behind, she is glad that she has been able to try so many new things.
“Soccer was my life,” Ryan said. “But if I hadn’t quit, I wouldn’t have learned so much more about athletics, and I wouldn’t have met the wonderful people on my teams.”
~Caroline Liebel, staff reporter