After three years of coming up just short, Snohomish’s Tyler Massena was determined to help the Panthers’ football team accomplish something it hadn’t done in a decade.
Massena helped guide Snohomish to its first state-tournament berth since 2008 and provided the squad exemplary leadership. He spent his senior year leaving a lasting imprint on Snohomish High School athletics.
“My personal goal was just to be a good leader,” Massena said, “and I wanted to leave a mark on the incoming freshmen and underclassmen. Me being a freshman and seeing us lose three years in a row in districts, I didn’t want that outcome again.”
Massena won the readers’ voting for The Herald’s 2019 Boys Athlete of the Year. He ran away with the balloting, earning 32.6 percent (2,778) of the 8,514 votes cast.
Massena was a big reason the Panthers’ football team reached the 3A state tournament last fall. A running back, linebacker and return specialist, Massena gave the Panthers a reliable asset whenever they needed a player to take over.
Massena totaled nearly 2,000 yards from scrimmage and 30 offensive touchdowns. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound, hard-running back churned out 1,455 rushing yards and 27 scores to go with 509 receiving yards, three TD receptions and two kickoff return touchdowns.
“This football season was beyond the season I was hoping for,” Massena said. “We had a new coaching staff and started from zero. I was fortunate to have the line that I had. We talked about game planning, and (the coaching staff) referred to me a lot when they needed a tough grinder. They let me run and see if I could break one or two.”
Massena was a first-team All-Wesco 3A South selection at running back, linebacker and kick returner, and was also a first-team selection on The Herald’s All-Area team as a running back.
A hamstring injury kept Massena from playing lacrosse last year, and the injury affected his senior year of track and field, but the sprinter displayed his capabilities his junior year when he set the school’s record in the 200 meters with a 22.11-second sprint during the 4A, 3A, 2A State Track and Field Championships.
Massena was rewarded by the Naval Academy, which offered him a scholarship to run for its track and field program. He also plans to join Navy’s football team as an invited walk-on.
“I would say bonding with teammates at camp and for football,” said Massena when asked his top senior memory. “When stuff got hard, just battling with my brothers. That is what I’ll look back on the rest of my life, being through it with them and coming out successful.”
TOP ONLINE VOTE-GETTERS
1. Tyler Massena, Snohomish (football, lacrosse, track and field) — 2,778 votes (32.6 percent)
2. Zach Stancik, Kamiak (cross country, track and field) — 1,274 votes (15.0 percent)
3. Chase Winkler, Lake Stevens (football, track and field) — 633 votes (7.4 percent)
4. Andrew Olson, Everett (football, basketball, golf) — 516 votes (6.1 percent)
5. Trevor Leen, Mountlake Terrace (cross country, basketball, track and field) — 368 votes (4.3 percent)
Total votes cast: 8,514