By David Krueger Herald Writer
For the top girl student-athlete, click here.
Arlington’s Blake McPherson tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the first football game of Arlington’s 2010 season. That’s not incredibly rare in high school football. What is rare is what McPherson did after it: he played four more games. Incredibly, McPherson didn’t stop playing until his MCL was torn, and his LCL was partially torn. After surgery to repair it, he was on the football field in a wheelchair for the Eagles next game, supporting his teammates.
Soon after McPherson began aggressively rehabbing his knee, in the hopes of coming back stronger than ever. McPherson was back on the football field less than one year later, leading Arlington during his senior season. Planning to take the winter off to focus on track and field, he was convinced to join the wrestling team when coaches came to his house. He got all the way to the fifth-place match at the state tournament in a competitive 195-pound weight class.
Then came track and field, where he finished second in the state in the javelin toss. He also spent the afternoon of prom night finishing up a win in the state decathlon.
All of his hard work has earned McPherson the Class of 2012 Boy Athlete of the Year award. Herald writer David Krueger recently sat down with him to discuss this past year and his future:
For how the winners were chosen, listen to the podcast here.
What was the top moment of your high school career?
My favorite moment would probably have to be (this season) when I was undefeated, and the kid I was wrestling (Union’s Bryson Page) was undefeated in the regional championships. I went out and beat him 20-10, It was the coolest moment. I ran back and jumped in my coaches arms. … Since my knee was hurt, my coaches came over to my house before wrestling season, because I wasn’t going to do it, and they convinced me to come out and wrestle. I wasn’t sure how I would do. At that point I had won the regional title, was undefeated and I couldn’t believe all that had happened. Beating another undefeated person, it was just the best feeling I guess.
Did you have any free time in high school?
No, not really. The seasons basically overlapped each other. The only free time I had was winter last year when I was trying to recover from a torn knee.
For a look at all the boys nominees, click here
What will you miss most about high school?
Definitely the athletics. Even the pros, they say nothing compares to high school football and high school sports. When the whole town knows you and you know them. Even the pros don’t compare to high school. You spend the past four years working up and then basically have to start over from the bottom somewhere else.
What are your future plans?
I leave in three weeks to go back to Westpoint (and the U.S. Military Academy), and I have a football meeting there and track meeting. Then I’ll go to basic training, then towards the end of that I’ll go to football practices. After that I’ll start training for the decathlon and track in the Patriot League. My numbers this year were pretty high, and I think I could maybe win that next year. That’d be awesome.
Who was particularly helpful to you the last four years?
My Uncle Wayne has been my coach for every sport I played up until high school and has been the biggest part of my athletic career my whole life. … And my brothers. They’re my biggest fans. They’ll go to the grave trying to help me out and do what they can. My brother Brad has been at Westpoint the last four years and hasn’t gotten to see me play. So I’ve been filming my games and sending the film back to Westpoint so he can watch me. Trying to do my best so I can make them proud. Basically ever since I was little, I based my athleticism off them. They beat me up when I was little. They made me tough. I had to compete up so I could compete with them. Slowly I started passing them, and now I can beat them in pretty much any sport. Except golf. We went golfing the other day and I was horrendous. They said they finally found a sport that I wasn’t good at.
Anything to add?
I’m just happy that everything worked out. I feel like I missed my junior year, but I made up for it my senior year. Football didn’t go quite how I wanted, but I finished up with the decathlon and finished good. Basically, just coming back from the knee injury. Winning the decathlon when I never thought I’d be doing that stuff again. It’s just crazy how everything turned out.
Stories on Blake McPherson
Class of 2012 Boys Finalists
With the 2011-12 sports season finished, The Herald decided to celebrate the best of the best. Using recommendations from athletic directors and Herald writers, a senior boy and girl athlete from each local school was chosen to represent the Class of 2012. These weren’t just the best athletes on the field, but also those that exemplified the best in the classroom and the community. After the nominees were chosen, we asked readers to vote on the list and help us pare it down to the top 12 boys and girls of 2012. Below is a list of the boys finalists (top five vote-getters plus one chosen by Herald staff).
Christian Gasca, Lake Stevens (695)
Sam Shober, Archbishop Murphy (610)
Ian Cooper, Sultan (548)
Blake Lord, Lynnwood (526)
Michael Washington Jr., Oak Harbor (489)
Blake McPherson, Arlington (452)