Andrew Ryan on the pitcher’s mound. Photo by Mike Maltais
BY MIKE MALTAIS
This year’s graduating class at Liberty Bell High School includes seniors who played pivotal leadership roles as members of an unprecedented six sports teams that qualified for state competition in wrestling, soccer, baseball, tennis, softball, and track and field.
One of those, the LBHS varsity wrestling team led by the 126-pound championship of senior Justin McMillan, brought home a state title and joined the 1998 varsity cross country runners as the only other Mountain Lions team to achieve such an honor in the school’s history.
Last month, the boys’ varsity baseball team with senior pitcher Andrew Ryan at the helm battled to fourth place at state, the best finish of any other baseball team at LBHS.
Last fall, three senior All-Conference First Team nominees, Sage Abate, Jacqueline O’Keefe and Johnnie Duguay, led the Lady Lions varsity soccer team to fourth place at state.
The News wanted to know more about the sports resumes of these remarkable graduates. Following is a brief snapshot from those who responded to our request to learn more about the sports they enjoyed and in which many excelled, the honors and awards they received and which sports may be a part of their post-graduate years.
Abate earned a pile of honors during her four years as a member of the Lady Lions varsity soccer team. She was voted to the 2B All-Conference First Team and co-MVP, and later the All State Team as a midfielder during the Lady Lions’ run to eventual fourth place at state last year.
Abate was team co-captain her sophomore through senior years and team MVP as a junior and senior. While earning her varsity letter all four years, Abate added her brainpower to the team GPA that won the Lady Lions the academic state championship for four consecutive years.
The scholar-athlete has also been a Nordic skier since the third grade and is a four-time qualifier for the Pacific Northwest Ski Association’s Junior Olympic Team. Along the way, Abate also found time to swim competitively from the seventh through ninth grades.
As Abate weighs her post-high school options, she said she might play more soccer on the club level, “maybe be a walk-on for the University of Washington,” she said.
Perez focused on varsity tennis throughout high school and with good results. He was undefeated in league singles play as a sophomore, junior and senior. He was team captain as a junior and senior and was voted to the All-League First Team his junior year. He was district singles champion for the last two years, qualified for state for the last three years and finished seventh at state as a sophomore and senior.
Perez plans to continue playing tennis at Spokane Falls Community College.
Ryan, once described by his coach as an athlete “born to play baseball”, did just that all through high school with a little basketball thrown in his junior year.
Ryan pitched the first and only perfect game in LBHS history last season and led his team to the best-ever finish for a Mountain Lion baseball team – fourth place – last month. Among his many baseball honors are Rookie of the Year, team MVP for three years, league MVP, league Pitcher of the Year and All-League First Team for three years.
It comes as no surprise that Ryan will continue playing baseball after graduation.
Jones played football as a freshman and baseball as a freshman and sophomore but has really made his mark as an alpine ski racer. In the field of downhill racing Jones has already won the J2 (age 14-15) national Super G championship. He is also the Western Region giant slalom champion and prior to a serious injury sustained last year was ranked among the top three nationally in his age group in the giant slalom, super G and downhill.
Along with skiing Jones enjoys mountain biking, dirt biking and snowmobiling. He plans to take a year off following graduation to pursue ski racing.
Michael T. Michael
Michael is a quad-sport athlete who played football all four years, basketball as sophomore, junior and senior, baseball as a sophomore and track as a senior. He was quarterback, team captain and offensive player of the year, named to the All-League Second Team on defense and was a quarterback and defensive back All-League Honorable Mention.
Michael was voted Rookie of the Year in baseball and this year won the district javelin title in track and field, and was a member of the LBHS state track team.
Michael said his principal off-campus thrill sport was “cliff jumping.” He said he intends to pursue football and lacrosse after high school.
A multi-sport athlete and equestrian, Duguay is a four-year varsity veteran of both basketball and soccer who co-captained the soccer squad for the last three years. Her numerous awards include Coach’s Choice Award for both soccer (2010 and 2012) and basketball (2013), basketball Rookie of the Year (2010), soccer Most Improved (2009) and Most Inspirational (2010), and was twice voted to the soccer All-Conference First Team as a junior and senior defender.
The former 2012 Methow Valley Rodeo princess won fourth place at the three-day Inavale Farm Eventing Camp in central Oregon, where Duguay was also honored for best-conditioned horse.
Duguay will attend Gonzaga University where she “plans on going to walk-on try outs for soccer,” and camping out to purchase the highly coveted Bulldog basketball tickets.
The News will profile more senior athletes in next week’s issue.