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All things EHS all the time

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All things EHS all the time

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From Freshman Phenoms to Senior Sensations

How state-bound athletes have improved since freshman year
From+Freshman+Phenoms+to+Senior+Sensations

Eureka stands out in so many aspects, but especially through the wide variety of sports the school provides. In 2020, three remarkable athletes stood out exceptionally. Bailey Boulay, Haiden Schoessel, and Ryan Thornhill caught the eye of Eureka sports fans, making varsity as freshmen. But where are they now?

Making varsity as a freshman is generally impressive and difficult, but these particular athletes made it look easy, with their positive mentality, strong work ethic, and profound skill. All three of these athletes have been playing on the varsity level for almost four years, only improving their skill and athleticism. Working harder than ever, these athletes are now competing at state-level competitions and getting Division 1 offers to perform at the next level.

Bailey Boulay playing lacrosse as a senior

Boulay is one example of an amazing multi-sport athlete, playing basketball, lacrosse, and tennis on the varsity level since freshman year. Since she met her first goal, making varsity in all three sports, Boulay strives to give it her all and become better every day. Not only has she improved as an athlete, but her mentality has changed drastically over the years.

I’ve become more confident and not as scared/timid. Being a freshman on varsity, you’re going to be scared. I didn’t want to mess up and have everyone be mad at me. I was 14 years old playing with and against girls that were 18 years old. Now I am the senior and am more confident in myself and my abilities and am not as scared as I was when I was 14 playing varsity,” Boulay said. 

Being an athlete comes with great success but also loss. Boulay, being a three-sport athlete, has dealt with loss before, any athlete has, but Boulay handles loss and pressure well. 

“I know I have a lot of people rooting for me, and my teammates always have my back so that helps a lot. However, like any competitive athlete, I hate losing. But if anything, losing just motivates me even more and makes me want to become better,” Boulay said. 

Boulay has an incredible work ethic and mentality. She focuses strictly on always getting better for herself and her teammates. Boulay wants nothing but to be the best she can be and continue to improve to thrive as an athlete. 

“My freshman year I worked hard to be the best I could be because I was so much younger and less experienced than all of the girls. However, since I was a freshman, if I didn’t have a very good game or made some mistakes it didn’t affect me as much mentally because I felt like I had this title on me of “she’s just a freshman, she is just getting used to everything.” Now that I am a senior I still work just as hard and am just as determined as I was my freshman year, but I feel like I have much higher expectations of me,” Boulay said. 

Bailey Boulay playing varsity basketball freshman year

Boulay is a great example of how you can change your goals or plans along the way. Since Boulay has been playing three different sports for four years straight, her goals changed and now she is committed to playing lacrosse at Maryville University. Now, Boulay is wrapping up her last year as a Wildcat athlete. Boulay enjoyed her high school experience and is thrilled to attend Maryville University and begin the next chapter of her athletic career. 

“Growing up, basketball was always my main sport and I thought that would be the sport I played in college. However, I decided to play lacrosse in college at Maryville, and my freshman who dreamed of basketball was still proud of how far I have come as a player, person, and teammate in all sports,” Boulay said.

Thornhill is also a tri-sport athlete, playing football, baseball, and wrestling, Thornhill has accomplished a lot since his freshman year, including making varsity right away for all three sports and attending multiple state championships. Thornhill is now applying to two U.S. service academies: the US Naval Academy and the Military Academy at West Point. As an athlete, Thornhill has set high goals and expectations of himself and has managed to achieve them. 

Ryan Thornhill wrestling as a senior

“My goals as a freshman were to become a state medalist for wrestling and eventually a state champion. As of right now, my goal has not changed even now as a senior. It is still my goal to be up on the podium in Colombia for the state. Although it will be tough, I still push myself every single day to reach that goal of being the best in the state,” Thornhill said. 

Since making varsity as a freshman, Thornhill has improved drastically. He has learned how to build on his mentality and athleticism when going through challenges, and not letting that affect his abilities on the mat and field. 

“Some challenges I’ve had to face along the way include a lot of mental warfare. To be honest, wrestling is not a fun sport. At least not fun in the sense that most other sports are. Wrestling is the most physically and mentally draining sport in the world. I’ve had to go through some tough times when I am just mentally drained from my hard classes, practices, and tournaments on the weekends. You just have to learn to push past these mental roadblocks,” Thornhill said. 

This year has been the most challenging for Thornhill as he suffered an injury from football towards the end of the season. This required him to undergo surgery and was told he wasn’t able to wrestle for his final year of high school. Thornhill took this challenge as an opportunity to improve as much as he could in the hope of getting to wrestle at some point during his senior year and winning the medal he had dreamed of winning since his freshman year. 

“I took this information and decided that I was going to do everything in my power to heal my thumb and try to be back before the end of the season. Though it has been hard to know I will miss most of my senior season, I am doing everything in my power to try and get back and reach my goal of getting a state medal,” Thornhill said. 

Thornhill’s freshman self would be proud of the leader he is today and how he never lost his discipline or determination to be the best he could be. Thornhill put in tremendous amounts of effort to earn his spot at state every year for wrestling, and he plans to attend again this year after his recovery. 

“Attending state as a freshman was an amazing experience. Even though I didn’t do amazing that year, it was still good for me to experience it so that when I went back the following year it wasn’t as nerve-racking. It feels like a whole other level of the sport when you are in the arena preparing for your match. It feels so much more important because it is,” Thornhill said. 

Thornhill’s work ethic is really strong. He does not believe in quitting or giving up and only plans to further improve himself as an athlete. 

Ryan Thornhill wrestles freshman year

“I cannot live with myself after not giving something my all or quitting. I’ve never quit anything and I don’t plan on it either. If anything it’s gone up as my goals have gotten higher. My mentality has gotten better over the years,” Thornhill said. 

Although Thornhill is approaching his final year as a Eureka Wildcat, he appreciates all the opportunities High School athletics have given him. He is not only a changed athlete but also a changed person. Thornhill is an inspiring example of how Eureka sports can impact someone. 

“Sports have taught me so many important life lessons on things such as discipline, determination, leadership, and many more. I have become the person I am today because of the things that sports have taught me. Though three sports sometimes can be tough and overwhelming, I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Thornhill said. 

Haiden Schoessel is a swimmer at Eureka High School who has taken herself to state three times and plans on doing it again this February. Schoessel is an incredible athlete, making varsity and beating school records since freshman year. Schoessel joined the team just hoping to fit in and enjoy the sport. Since then, she has accomplished so much in her athletic career and is only getting better.

Haiden Schoessel swimming as a senior

When I joined the swim team as a freshman, I didn’t have any performance goals. My main goal was to fit in with the girls I looked up to on the team. Now, I am fortunate enough to have stepped into their role. My main goals for my fourth season with the team don’t just include getting faster, I also want to be a team leader, and a role model, and enjoy the time I have left swimming for Eureka,” Schoessel said.

Being such a successful athlete also comes with challenges. Schoessel struggled with performance anxiety a lot in her earlier years and still does occasionally. The mentality is something Schoessel learned to manage and handle well which made her an even better swimmer.

“I felt an enormous amount of pressure to always be the best in every event I did. It was mentally and physically draining. I have gotten a lot better at managing that pressure because I know that it’s never going to go away, but I am proud that I started learning how to handle it,” Schoessel said.

Schoessel never believed she would be as remarkable as she is now. Swimming was always something she did for fun until she started getting exceptional times and becoming one of the best athletes in the school. 

“When I started swimming, I never thought that I would be where I am now. The idea of swimming in college at all seemed impossible, let alone being so blessed in what I was able to do with my recruiting process. My goals change every day. Every time I dive into the water for practice my goal is to get better at something. Every time I drop time in a race my goals adjust. But my goal has always been to swim for as long as I can, and I’m so thankful I have the opportunity to do that in college,”

Haiden Schoessel diving into the water as a freshman

Looking back to Schoessel’s freshman year swimming, she has improved so much since then. Schoessel’s freshman self would be very proud to see how far she’s come. 

“My freshman self would be proud of how much I’ve matured as a person because of the sport. The recruiting process helped me grow my communication skills, and I learned to manage my time and important conversations all on my own. I learned that being outgoing is a huge strength and how important it is to network yourself. I think that process in itself prepared me more for life beyond high school than anything else,” Schoessel said. 

As a high school athlete, Schoessel has made many friends swimming for Eureka, along with some great memories. Wrapping up her last year as a Wildcat, Schoessel appreciates every gift swimming at Eureka has given her, but is excited to continue her journey as a Sun Devil at Arizona State University. 

“Swimming has given me so many opportunities I never thought I would have. I get to represent my school at a high level, get a brand new team of friends every year and am coached by the most fun and supportive people. I have learned how to manage my time, my emotions, and my stress, and make goals for the future. I do not believe I would be who I am today without Eureka swimming,” Schoessel said. 

Eureka Athletics can change students as an athlete and as a person. These remarkable athletes have come so far and are only going to continue to be great, thanks to their work ethic, grit, and opportunity to try out for a sport at Eureka High School that has changed their lives forever.

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Peyton Wibbenmeyer, Features editor

Peyton Wibbenmeyer, News Production

Grade: Senior!! Years on Staff: 4 Hobbies: EHS track team, News production, travelling Favorite Childhood Show: iCarly Favorite Book: Shelter by Harlen Coban Favorite Quote: "Be a fruit loop in a world full of cheerios" Favorite Hot Take: McDonalds fries are better than Burger Kings Fun Fact: I want to move to Miami What motivates me: Listening to music
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