Ryan Ralston had a pretty good junior year for Blue Valley West.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
Special to The Star
The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder has been a two-year starter for the Jaguars football team at quarterback, a two-year starting forward in basketball and a three-year third baseman/pitcher for the baseball team.
In basketball, the Jaguars made it to the Class 6A state championship game, losing to BV Northwest for the state title.
The just-completed state baseball tournament saw Ralston get the game-winning RBI in a 1-0 win over Olathe Northwest on Thursday. On Friday, he threw a four-hit shutout and drove in two runs in an 8-0 victory over Olathe South in the 6A state championship game in Lawrence.
He is rarity in high school athletics — a three-sport star.
“I have been playing three sports my whole life,” Ralston said. “I’ve never done anything else.”
The summers can be taxing on the big junior.
“My summer mostly consists of being out of town for baseball tournaments or football camps,” he said. “When I am in town, I go to football weights in the morning, go to the gym to shoot baskets after that and usually have baseball in the evening.”
It’s not easy being a three-sport athlete on any level.
“The most difficult thing is transitioning into each sport and making sure my body stays healthy,” he said. “I go to a trainer named Nate Hemphill, who helps keep my body healthy and in shape for the next season.
“I think the transition from football to basketball is the toughest. It usually takes me a couple of weeks to get my body back into basketball shape.”
And he doesn’t have a favorite sport.
“I get that question a lot, and I have never known the answer,” he said. “I always just say the sport I am playing at the time.”
Ralston is regarded as a major college prospect as a quarterback and third baseman/pitcher.
“I have had the privilege of talking to some college coaches for football and baseball,” he said. “And I have had some contact with (Major League Baseball) scouts.”
Ralston has big plans for his senior year in high school.
“I want to continue to work hard, keep my body in shape and have a great senior season at West,” he said. “Obviously, my goal would be to play one of the those sports in college.”
Ralston credits his three coaches for his success.
“They have done a great job of letting me focus on one sport at a time,” he said. “They have been my biggest supporters, and I cannot thank them enough. They have not only taught me how to play the sport, but how to be a leader and carry myself off he field or court.”