Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Plano East's multi-sport star Ryan Garrey excels in four sports
A lot of good football players also play baseball. Among the best competing in the playoffs this week are Highland Park outfielder Jake Howeth (a quarterback, running back and defensive back in the fall) and Grand Prairie outfielder Devonte Lacy (one of the area’s best receivers).
Playing two sports isn’t rare, and although athletes are specializing more and more, a few of them even play three sports. But there aren’t many athletes who would have the time, interest and energy to play four sports in two years.
Plano East senior Ryan Garrey is one of them. Right now, he’s an outfielder and designated hitter for the Panthers (20-12-1), who begin a Class 5A bidistrict best-of-3 series tonight against Southlake Carroll (25-6). Two months ago, he was the goalkeeper for the soccer team. In the fall, he was one of Plano East’s top receivers. And last spring, he was a hurdler for the track team.
Quite a packed schedule.
“If I didn’t have sports,” Garrey said, “I would get myself into so much trouble.”
He’s kidding about that, at least somewhat. Garrey wouldn’t be a juvenile delinquent without his lineup of sports. But he wouldn’t be as happy, either, because sports have always been a big part of his life.
“The only time I really thought about dropping a sport,” Garrey said, “was when I had to wake up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning to go run in a track meet.”
Garrey did drop track this year, but that’s partly because he wanted to play high school soccer for the first time. He had played goalkeeper in youth soccer, and his friends convinced him to try out for the Plano East team.
“He’s a very good athlete,” Plano East baseball coach Travis Collins said. “I think Ryan could do just about whatever he wanted. He’s just that kind of kid.”
Fortunately, Garrey has coaches that allowed his schedule some flexibility. Last year, he missed parts of baseball practice because he was training with the track team. This year, he missed time with the baseball team at the end of the soccer season.
“There have been times when he had to leave a game early, especially in tournaments, but our coaching staff really works well together,” Collins said. “That’s really our whole philosophy here – to have as many kids play as many sports as possible.”
That has meant more fun for Garrey, who will be an invited walk-on this fall for the Texas State football team. Football is his favorite sport, but he likes the contrast of football and baseball.
“It’s more of a team concept in football,” he said. “On every play, every person has to do their job to make a play happen. In baseball, if the ball is hit to you, you’re the only one who can make that play.”