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Posted: April 10, 2008 1:37 a.m.
Updated: June 11, 2008 5:04 a.m.

Canyon High senior Stephen Wirthlin is a sprinter and long jumper for the Cowboys. He's also played football, basketball, soccer for Canyon. He's heading to Brigham Young in the fall where he plans to focus on football.

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Amid all the stresses of college applications and tests that a senior year can bring, Canyon's Stephen Wirthlin is a good reminder that the final year of high school can be about something else too.

Fun.

Wirthlin played football and has run track all four years of high school, but this year, he wanted to take a shot at doing it all.

"I just wanted to play every sport, to see what it felt like," Wirthlin says. "It's so nice. I have my football friends, my soccer friends and my track friends. It's worked out perfect. It's just been an awesome year.

"There's not a sport I don't love playing," Wirthlin adds. "If they'd let me play every single sport I'd play every single sport."

He looked at this year as his final chance to play so many different sports and to experience it all with good friends.

That meant trying sports he hadn't played in a while. Wirthlin played basketball his first two years of high school but didn't play his junior year. So for his senior season, Wirthlin decided to go out for the soccer team, a sport he hadn't played competitively since he was in the eighth grade.

"I thought of soccer because I used to be good at soccer. I went out for the team and made it and it was so much fun," Wirthlin says. "I had a lot of catching up to do. I hadn't played for four years. I was a little rusty if you know what I mean."

In a year where the Canyon soccer team lost all but two of its returners from the 2006-07 squad, it didn't take long for Wirthlin to make his way into the starting lineup. He helped the Cowboys grab a share of the Foothill League title.

When spring sports rolled around, Wirthlin knew he'd be doing track as he had done the three years before, but he wanted to try something else too.

He decided to take a stab at the volleyball team.

"I was thinking about playing baseball but I couldn't find my baseball mitt," Wirthlin says.

Wirthlin, who is headed to Brigham Young University in the fall, made the volleyball team too. But he ran into a problem.

"The first practice I went to track and it overlapped," Wirthlin says. "I left track early and my track coach freaked out because I left early and my volleyball coach freaked out because I was late."

Matches were going to be a problem too. Volleyball plays league games on Tuesdays and Thursdays and track meets are on Thursdays.

Wirthlin said he was told by the volleyball coaches he probably wouldn't get much playing time. So he chose to drop that and stick with track.

And quite simply, the track team needed him.

He does long jump and runs the 100 and is on the 4x100 relay team.

"He's probably one of our top scorers," says Canyon track and field coach Paul Broneer. "I think Stephen could do just about any event and he'd succeed at it, but we put him where we need him."

Sounds familiar.

In football, Wirthlin played wide receiver, defensive back and he also did returns for kickoffs and punts.

He was an All-Foothill League first team selection on defense and also led the Cowboys with nine touchdowns this season. He led the team with 562 receiving yards and had a team-high 1,299 all-purpose yards. Wirthlin said he's a recruited walk-on at BYU, where he won't have to try out for the team, but he's not receiving a scholarship. He may not use his first year of eligibility up, because he plans on going on a Mormon mission the following year.

"He was definitely a renaissance guy for us," says Canyon head football coach Chris Varner, who coached Wirthlin at all three levels of high school football. "Offense, defense, special teams, he stepped up and filled some voids that we had and did a good job."

Wirthlin's role on the team became even more prominent when receiver Mark Urbina broke his leg against Lancaster on Sept. 20, the third game of the season. Urbina was out for the year.

"A lot more pressure went on him with Urbina gone. A lot of kids could have folded under that but I thought he did well, all things considered," Varner says.

"He takes himself seriously but he doesn't come off like he does. He's a fun kid," Varner says. "I've never really seen pressure get to him and he's not very emotional as far as anger or stress. I like to categorize him as calm under pressure. It's almost like he's just having fun, remembering why he's doing it. Sometimes with competition you forget that. He's always a kid that seems like he's playing to have a good time."

 

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