Senior Spotlight: Summit’s Ruthie Boyd, McKenna Ramsay, Alex Mason and Wil Laiblaw
Hey Tigers nation, are you heading to any homecoming matchups this week? Tag your Instagram and Twitter photos with #SumCoSports to see them live on the SDN sports homepage.
Editor’s note: This is first in a three-part homecoming series on senior athletes. Find the next installment in tomorrow’s edition, then head to the sports section at http://www.summitdaily.com for more photos and extended athlete Q&As.
It’s homecoming in the High Country, and that means Summit High will be taking on rivals with school pride on the line.
Halfway through the fall sports season, the Summit Daily News connected with seniors from all five varsity sports — boy’s soccer, girl’s rugby, football, volleyball and cross-country — for an inside glimpse at Tigers athletics.
Wil Laiblaw, No. 17
Senior Wil Laiblaw has played soccer for about five years, but that hardly tells the entire story. As a sophomore, he suffered a broken leg and was knocked off the pitch (and just about everything) for most of his junior season. He returned in his fourth year ready to lead a senior-heavy Tigers squad that, for one reason or another, just hasn’t clicked yet.
At the halfway point, the Tigers are 1-6 overall with a single win against conference youngsters Palisade. Head coach Tommy Gogolon is relying heavily on a crew of seniors to lead the charge, and Laiblaw is one of his go-to guys. He’s a threat on the right and left side of the field because, like the best soccer players, he’s comfortable with both feet. He’s goalless so far this season, but coach can see him scoring five by November.
“He’s pretty dangerous,” Gogolen said. “He’s also one of the fastest guys on the team. If we have a gap, I can play him anywhere. I’m confident with his ability just about anywhere.”
First soccer memory: The first time I played soccer I wasn’t very good at it and didn’t like it very much. But the more I played, the better I got, and in the process I made some great friends.
HS career highlight: Making the varsity team my sophomore year. Unfortunately, I broke my leg in a preseason game and was unable to play for the rest of the season. However, this experience humbled me and gave me an appreciation for all that the Summit boy’s soccer team does.
If I wasn’t playing soccer: I would probably be playing fall lacrosse because I also love to play lacrosse.
Pre-game meal: Fried chicken with a side of gummy worms.
Post-game ritual: Hang out with my fellow seniors from the soccer team and watch Disney movies.
Pump-up song: “We Belong,” by Pat Benatar.
Since freshman year, McKenna Ramsay has been one of the best all-around runners Summit has to offer. The senior is captain of the girl’s cross-country team and often leads the pack with Ruthie Boyd, a fellow four-year runner. The duo has competed in the 4A championship each of the past three years, and head coach Heather Quarantillo expects her captain to do the same as a senior before heading to a college program.
“They are both looking at collegiate running, so my goal is to help them get the best possible performances throughout the season, especially at the state championships,” said Quarantillo, who would like to see Ramsay place in the top 10 at state. She could even lead the team to its best overall finish since fourth in 2007: So far this season, the Tigers girl’s team has placed in the top five at all meets, and Ramsay has placed in the top 30.
First running memory: The first time I started running I fell in love. I was playing soccer at the time, but my mom realized I was faster than everyone else on the team, so she signed me up for a running club. I never looked back. What I love about running the most is the feeling I get from running fast and reaching my goals.
HS career highlight: My 12th place finish at the State meet last year, which I hope to beat this year.
Favorite practice memory: It was on a fall day in my junior year. Ruthie (Boyd) and I were running to Rainbow Lake on our hour run. When we got to the lake, we were greeted by a moose standing majestically in the middle of the lake. The moose and all of the fall colors reflecting off the water is a sight I will never forget.
Pre-race meal: The night before a race I always to eat a good pasta dinner.
Post-race ritual: My favorite way to celebrate a successful race is by going on a cool-down run afterwards with Ruthie and talk about our races. Along with talking about our races, Ruthie and I are always full of energy and smiles after a good race, which makes the cool down run the highlight of my day, other than the race.
Pump-up song: “Intro,” by the xx.
Biggest rival: That would have to be Eagle Valley or Battle Mountain.
Like her four-year teammate Ramsay, Ruthie Boyd is a machine on the cross-country trail. This season, the senior has placed in the top 10 at every meet she’s entered, including first place overall at the Longhorn Invitational on Aug. 29 and the Anna Banana Invitational on Sept. 26. She’s a master at pacing, Quarantaillo says, and when she has the chance to pass the field, she doesn’t hesitate.
“She has an awesome ability to keep working on her competition,” the coach said.
First running memory: The first time I ran a cross-country race I immediately fell in love with the sport. I didn’t really know that much about running and was introduced to it by my mom. … I’m a Nordic skier and the sports are similar. I was really surprised when my first race at the Leadville cross-country meet went well and was so fun!
HS career highlights: Probably that the girl’s team has qualified for State the past three years, which is a big accomplishment and a lot of fun. Individually, I think one of my highlights is when I set my PR for a 5K at the regional meet in Delta (in 2014).
Pre-race mea: Oatmeal, yogurt and strawberries.
Pump-up song: “I Gotta Feeling,” by the Black Eyed Peas.
Superstitions: I have lucky socks and a lucky ankle bracket that I always wear. I can also be superstitious about my race number — if it has a seven in it, it’s lucky!
Biggest rival: It depends on the day. I wouldn’t really say that I have any, honestly! It’s all about who shows up and runs their best race as a team.
The boy’s cross-country team has been through ups and downs in the past few years, but current senior and captain Alex Mason has been through it all. He learned by running shoulder-to-shoulder with Liam Meirow, the State cross-country champion in 2013. When the two met in Mason’s sophomore year, he soaked up all he could from the Summit champ.
“He’s been watching and learning each of his years, and he’s been lucky to have outstanding leadership in the past,” Quarantillo said. “He’s comfortable in front of his group.”
Along with fellow senior Alex Lehman, Mason has a very approachable goal: break the 18-minute mark in competition. He’s come close the past few meets, and after Lehman broke the mark on Sept. 26 in Grand Junction, the captain is motivated to do the same.
First running memory: I remember dry heaving and wheezing as I ran (let’s be honest, mostly walked) up Power Line Hill. When I got to the top, however, I felt a powerful sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, a feeling I have been running to re-create ever since.
HS career highlight: Probably a meet last year. It was my first time winning a race for Summit and it was exciting to see the potential I never knew I had as a runner. It was extra special because it was our home meet, so I got to receive the medal on behalf of my own coaches and teammates, giving me an extra sense of pride.
I remember when: At last year’s homecoming, I was in a group with a lot of my running buddies. We had just had a really hard meet a few hours before, so we were all extremely tired. I remember looking across the table at dinner and seeing several runners sleeping soundly, and their dates looked very annoyed. This is a great example of the big influence running has on all other aspects of our lives!
Pre-race meal: Spaghetti and chocolate milk. I bet Ruthie and McKenna will tell you the same thing.
Pump-up song: “Sabotage,” by the Beastie Boys. Pumps me up every time.
Biggest rival: Myself. Every time I run, I strive to be a better runner than the day before, both mentally and physically. This allows me to focus on my own achievements and not those outside my control. Instead of dragging others down, build yourself up.
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