All-Region: Versatility Pays Off

Discovering new sports lead to college offers for Johnson, Barrus

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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Multi-Sport Athletes

To be considered for The Columbian’s multi-sport honors, athletes had to earn an All-Region honor in one sport and an all-league selection in at least one other.

Ryan Johnson's football career started on a baseball diamond. Or maybe it was a basketball court.

Football was the last sport he began as a youngster. In the fall, Johnson, who graduated from Mountain View last week, is headed to Montana to play football for the Grizzlies.

He credits baseball and basketball for helping him get there.

Skyview senior Taylor Barrus always figured volleyball was her sport. That is, until she picked up a javelin. Now she is going to Brigham Young University for track and field.

Add it up, it's five high school sports and two Division I scholarships between them.

Johnson, who made it to the Class 3A Washington final 16 in football, basketball, and baseball, is The Columbian's male multi-sport athlete of the year.

Barrus, our volleyball player of the year and a Class 4A state track and field champion, is our female multi-sport athlete of the year.

"You get so much more out of just competing all the time," said Johnson, referring to the benefits of playing two or more sports rather than specializing in one. "It gives you the drive to win and you become a better athlete. Most college recruiters like to see athletes."

"Doing multiple sports is part of a really good high school experience," Barrus said. "Doing multiple sports is cross-training for the other sport. It keeps you busy."

Barrus and Johnson also said the focus and discipline it takes to excel in multiple sports can help in the classroom, too.

Barrus is leaving Skyview with a 3.93 grade-point average. Johnson finished his studies with a 3.7.

Competing just about all the time, all the way to college.