Ridgefield's Boyle making a name for herself

Boyle's three-sport days almost over, but volleyball continues

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

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photoShannon Boyle of Ridgefield High School goes through warm up drills at volleyball practice Monday October 14, 2013 in Ridgefield, Washington. Boyle, is a three-sport athlete at Ridgefield. (Troy Wayrynen/The Columbian)

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RIDGEFIELD — Shannon Boyle. Shannon Boyle. Shannon Boyle.

Can't get enough of that name, can you? From fall, to winter, to spring.

"I don't know what I'd do if I didn't play three sports," Boyle said. "I would just be so bored. I love staying active."

It is quite possible, over the last few years, her name has appeared more times in The Columbian's high school sports coverage than any other athlete in the region.

There's Shannon Boyle, leading her volleyball team in kills.

Now Shannon Boyle is over there, leading Ridgefield in points and rebounds.

Quick, look this way: It's Shannon Boyle, leading the Spudders in strikeouts.

Because she has been a varsity athlete in all three sports since her freshman season, and because those teams play, on average, twice a week during the regular seasons, well, you can see how that name became a regular appearance in the local paper.

Now a senior at Ridgefield, Boyle is taking one last trek on the journey of a three-sport athlete, earning 12 varsity letters in the process.

Boyle is not just some big, strong athlete in a little school. She is a Division-I recruit.

Next year, the basketball post and softball pitcher will give up those endeavors to continue with volleyball in college. Earlier this fall, she informed Sacramento State officials of her intention to sign with the Hornets next month.

Volleyball was the last of the sports she started playing but it quickly became her favorite.

"Just the feeling of togetherness on the court," Boyle said. "The joy when someone crushes the ball or gets an amazing dig nobody thought they would get."

In basketball, one person, from time to time, can take over a game. In softball as a pitcher, the game can turn into a one-on-one battle with the batter. A perfect play in volleyball, though, needs more, she said.

"Someone has to pass it. Someone has to set it. Someone has to hit it," Boyle said. "You have to be close to all your teammates. We are here at Ridgefield. You really have to be a family on the court and support everyone. You can't butt heads with anyone. That will cause conflict on the court."

Boyle likes to avoid conflict, preferring a peace of mind that comes from her Christian faith.

"My faith is an everyday thing," she said. "It gives me a break from the daily stresses of school and sports."

It helped during a discouraging period of her sports life when she went looking for college programs. In some cases, Boyle was told she was not the athlete they were looking for, and in other cases, the programs had already offered scholarships to other athletes.

"For a while, I was down," Boyle said. "I was frustrated."

Then it hit her.

"I knew that wasn't the right thing for me," she would say of any missed opportunity.

She believed she was good enough and had to be patient.

Sure enough, she said, Sacramento State coaches were at a tournament looking at other players when they spotted Boyle.

"I knew those other things weren't right because this was coming," Boyle said.

She took an unofficial visit in June, then an official visit two weeks ago, meeting the team. She said yes to the Hornets' offer a couple days later.

"I always wanted to go to a school in California," Boyle said.

She does not want to leave Ridgefield just yet, though. Never has wanted to leave, in fact.Ridgefield, now a Class 2A school, did spend two years at the 1A level, and there was some talk within her family about Boyle moving to a bigger school prior to her freshman year. That talk was brief, though. No way. She couldn't leave Ridgefield. She has three older brothers and an older sister, all Spudders.

"People think the Spudder is a funny mascot. I love it. It's so unique," Boyle said. "I love what we have here in Ridgefield. It didn't seem right to go to another school where I didn't know anybody. I just felt I needed to be here."

The dream scenario for this Ridgefield Spudder would be to make it to the state tournament in all three sports her senior year.

Ridgefield won the volleyball league title last year but did not get out of the district tournament. Boyle said this year's squad wants to take it to another level. That goal started long before the first match of this season.

"If we want to go to state, we have to play like we want to go to state. We have to practice like we want to go to state," Boyle said.

By mid-November, when the volleyball season ends, Boyle will shift her attention to basketball. Later, it will be another season of softball. Boyle said high school has gone by so fast — probably because she is so busy — and she is going to make sure she takes full advantage of all of her sports one last time.

"I love being a Spudder. I'm excited for college, too. But I know once volleyball, basketball, and softball are over, I'm just going to miss it," Boyle said. "College is going to be like a job. I like what Ridgefield's got going here."

Shannon Boyle has made the most of her high school years, making quite the name for herself, as well.