Madison High School senior forward Annalise Brunson has established quite the resume in her soccer career for the Bobcats.
After 14 goals and 10 assists as a freshman, Brunson racked up 36 goals and 10 assists as a sophomore. She one-upped herself as a junior with 48 goals and 22 assists. In Madison's season opener on Aug. 24, she scored four goals in a 16-0 win over Shelley to surpass 100 career goals for the Bobcats.
Brunson has scored 13 goals in five games this season, giving her career total of 111. She was informed of surpassing 100 goals after getting a hat trick in Madison's 3-0 win over Skyline on Aug. 27 and the news surprised her. The Utah Valley commit added that 100 career goals was not something she was thinking about as a freshman on varsity three years ago. She credited everyone around her in Madison's program for helping her reach the milestone.
"That's awesome," Brunson said. "It's pretty special. It's great to have the support of such great coaches and players."
Second-year Madison head coach Jaymon Birch said the senior forward's milestone is a result of the work she has put in, and she has been a force since she was an 11 year-old playing city league soccer.
"It didn't matter who was on the field, she just stood out," Birch said by phone. "It didn’t matter whether it was boys or girls. If you stop and recognize how many hours she puts in...she puts in the time, she gets the touches and it shows."
Another layer to her scoring frenzy is that she has drawn two to three defenders every time she has had the ball since her sophomore season. She is familiar even outside of District 6, evident during team introductions Saturday at Madison's home game versus District 3's Mountain View.
"All the Mountain View players were sticking their heads out when they said Annalise Brunson," Birch said. "I’ve been very impressed with her composure, especially as the years progress. We still put her on an island and there's always two, three defenders on her. It's a grind. She’s really good about taking it in stride."
From broadcaster to athletic director
Matt Harris has gone from calling games to scheduling games.
Harris, a longtime broadcaster for IdahoSports.com, was hired as Ririe High School's athletic director in July. Two months earlier, he had been hired to work for Ririe as a teacher and in the tech department for the 2019-20 school year. Harris said when Damien Smith's resignation created the athletic director vacancy, he had to pursue the opportunity.
"It gives me an opportunity to learn and grow," Harris said by phone. "I’ve always learned opportunity is not gonna knock you down--you have to grasp it. It’s a challenge that I felt like I needed to take personally and for my family."
Being athletic director has already brought several learning moments for Harris. While had had some prior knowledge of what being an athletic director entails, there are some responsibilities he was unaware of previously such as how far ahead schedules must be created, working with coaches, parents and athletes and completing lots of paperwork. He is still as busy--if not busier--working for Ririe full-time and Z103 FM part-time as he was when he worked for IdahoSports.com and Z103 FM simultaneously. It just looks different.
"There's a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that people who come the games never see," Harris said. "I don’t’ think they see how far we plan in advance--finding ways to pay for things through fundraisers, how are we getting these kids to this game. It really is a full time job."
On the other side of the coin, Harris credited his sports media background for helping to make the move to athletic director easier. Years of building relationships and trust with coaches and athletic directors throughout Idaho created a community of which he is now a member, and the community has been welcoming.
"A lot of them have said, 'Welcome to the club,' since my news," Harris said. "I have a lot of help at the school. Eric Torgerson, who used to be athletic director at Ririe, said, 'Anytime you have a question, let me know.' (Ririe superintendent) Jeff Gee, same thing. It gives me the opportunity to lean on someone."
Cardinal Classic looking stacked
The annual Cardinal Classic has been a favorite early season meet for District 6 cross-country teams for at least a decade. The meet, scheduled Saturday and hosted by Idaho powerhouse Soda Springs at Kelly Park, consistently draws teams from Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. For the second time in three years, District 3 will be represented at the meet. Defending 5A girls cross-country state champion and 2018 Nike Cross Nationals team qualifier Boise is registered, as is Mountain View, whose girls placed third at last year's state meet.
In 2017, Mountain View's Lexy Halladay won the varsity girls race in 19:00.37 to break a seven year-old course record. Idaho's three-time defending 5A girls cross-country individual state champion, Halladay qualified for last year's Foot Locker Nationals and swept the girls distance events at 5A state track in May, including running a U.S. No. 8 time of 4:43.74 in the 1,600. Last year, Idaho Falls' Zach Erikson and Skyline's Sariah Harrison claimed the varsity boys and girls individual titles to become the first District 6 runners on record to sweep the meet's individual titles.