|Written by Brian Bergner|
|Monday, 06 June 2011 00:00|
Mingus Union High School junior Torey Braly did some amazing things on the athletic field this past school year, and she hopes her senior season will be even better.
Once a three-sport athlete, the 17-year-old Braly decided to leave cross country behind her and concentrate on soccer and the track and field program.
It couldn’t have worked out better for Braly, who has become one of the best soccer players in the state in any classification, and one of the top hurdlers in Division III.
As for the three-sport girl, Braly said she doesn’t miss cross country too much, but does think it’s easier participating in only two sports.
“Two sports is nothing,” Braly said May 25 near the football field during an interview at Mingus. “I had to crack down and focus on two sports. I wanted to be great in two sports.”
During the winter, Braly absolutely shattered the school scoring record, netting 39 goals and leading her Marauders to a second straight 4A-II Grand Canyon region title.
“I told coach not to tell me. I didn’t want to know how many goals I was scoring because I didn’t want it to become about me,” Braly said.
Mingus qualified for the state tournament as a No. 3 seed, but lost to rival Flagstaff High School, the team it beat for the region title, in the state semifinals in overtime, 1-0.
As a sophomore, Braly led the Marauders to a 1-0 win over Flagstaff in the state title match in 2009-2010.
“It was a blessing to win a state championship in high school. I mean, that’s what high school athletes strive for, to win a state title,” Braly said.
At the end of this season, Braly was awarded the Grand Canyon region most valuable player award. Along with receiving a first-team All-State selection, Braly was named player of the year in the 4A-II.
Of course, soccer isn’t the only sport Braly’s mastered so early in her athletic life. Competing in the hurdles events for the track and field program at Mingus has become a focus of hers as well.
“To be a good hurdler is a blessing,” Braly said.
This spring, Braly finished first overall in the 300-meter hurdles in Mesa with a 46.14 time, claiming an individual state championship for the Marauders and a first-team All-State selection.
“I love the 300 hurdles. Being in my own head for 46 seconds or so is a challenge,” Braly said with a big smile.
Braly was second in the 100-meter hurdles with a 15.83 time, and ran a leg in the 4x400-meter relay event with her teammates. The two performances earned her second-team All-State honors in the respective events.
The young superstar in the making attributes her success to her older sister, Deserta Braly, who wasn’t a bad soccer player herself and was a kicker on the Mingus football team.
“She’s helped me a lot over the years. It’s hard that she’s not here now because I’m so used to her helping me. She showed me how to do the hurdles when I started in fifth grade,” Braly said.
During her spare time, Braly works at the Cottonwood Recreation Center as a lifeguard at the community pool, and she attends plenty of soccer camps in the summer.
She also likes to hang with friends and do lots of swimming when she’s not working as a lifeguard.
For her immediate future, Braly said she’ll continue to work hard at her two sports while keeping her grade point average at 4.0. As for the distant future, Braly has a good idea what’s in store for her.
The Northern Arizona University women’s soccer program is recruiting her heavily to attend NAU after she graduates in May 2012.
“It’s not official, of course, but I like it up there, and it’s something I want to do, which is play soccer in college,” Braly said.
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