When Koa McIntyre first walked by way of the doorways of Archbishop Bergan, he was a freshman with large expertise and large objectives.
4 years later, he left as the best athlete at school historical past.
The ultimate chapter was the sweetest of all of them. McIntyre’s senior yr included a soccer state title, a top-five end at state wrestling and two gold medals on the state monitor meet.
The work ethic and pure expertise that McIntyre confirmed from his first day on the soccer area was apparent to anybody who watched him. However it’s the intangibles that set McIntyre other than different gifted athletes — the management, the humility and the friendship wanted to be a caring and considerate teammate.
These attributes, mixed with great on-field performances, are why McIntyre is the 2022 Journal Star boys athlete of the yr.
“You are not going to discover a soul that is come throughout Koa that can be capable of say a unfavorable factor about him,” Archbishop Bergan soccer coach Seth Mruz stated. “He’s a really humble man who likes to make everybody round him higher. When your greatest gamers in your group are additionally the toughest employees, it makes the whole lot else straightforward.”
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That tough work started instantly as a freshman for McIntyre, who began at cornerback for Archbishop Bergan from his first day. Additionally a gifted multisport athlete, McIntyre had been wrestling and operating monitor for many of his life, one thing that continued in highschool.
As a sophomore, McIntyre moved to security, a place that required watching movie on the opposing groups to establish packages and arrange the protection accordingly. He wasn’t an all-state participant simply but, however he was growing into one.
“Coming in my freshman yr, I already knew that I wished to play on varsity and that I wished to win a state championship,” McIntyre stated. “That’s all I wished to do with my highschool profession — simply compete with the highest individuals within the state and see what I may do.”
After seeing restricted motion at huge receiver as a sophomore, it was time for McIntyre to succeed in his full potential offensively as a quarterback. These early days had been jam-packed for him — McIntyre would do a group exercise with Archbishop Bergan within the morning, instantly proceed coaching along with his dad after which throw along with his huge receivers within the afternoon.
The outcomes on the sector mirrored this dedication to excellence. McIntyre threw for over 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns whereas operating for an additional 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns in each of his seasons at quarterback.
The Knights had been unstoppable when McIntyre acquired them rolling, to the tune of a 25-1 file and back-to-back C-2 title sport appearances.
“Koa will inform you that he had some nice teammates, and that is very true,” Mruz stated. “Our group was a once-in-a-lifetime group and each man was in a position to profit from having been surrounded by a lot expertise. However individually, I believe what made Koa totally different from everybody else is his willpower and perception in himself. Koa is blessed with superb God-given expertise, however there usually are not many youngsters that work as laborious as he does at turning into nice.”
However, the primary large triumph of his soccer profession was additionally McIntyre’s largest setback. Enjoying in entrance of their dwelling followers, Archbishop Bergan fell to Ord within the 2020 C-2 title sport. McIntyre ended the day with a torn labrum that precipitated him to overlook your entire wrestling season, however he did achieve much more motivation for his senior yr.
The Knights’ dominance in 2021 was jaw-dropping as they received 12 of 13 video games by 28 factors or extra, whereas a 20-0 win over Ord within the state semifinals was their closest remaining rating. McIntyre earned himself first-team Tremendous-State honors, however extra importantly, he earned his faculty a state title with a 49-20 overcome Norfolk Catholic.
“That achievement gave me a number of reduction after successful all of it, as a result of we’d labored so laborious within the final two years with this senior class,” McIntyre stated. “We simply wished to complete the battle, that was our motto the final two years, and we knew we wished to exit on high.”
The remainder of McIntyre’s senior yr didn’t disappoint, both. He returned to the wrestling mat with a fifth-place end at 195 kilos in Class C. The state monitor meet supplied a remaining likelihood to cement his athletic legacy. McIntyre did simply that, successful state gold in each the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
“Within the 200 finals once I crossed that end line, it was like, ‘Increase, it’s over,’” McIntyre stated. “That was it for my highschool profession, but it surely simply put a giant smile on my face as a result of I used to be happy with what I achieved in my 4 years right here. It was a fantastic sensation to exit on high as a state champion.”
Every week or so after that, it lastly sunk in for McIntyre — it was time for him to be a collegiate athlete.
The following chapter of his athletic journey will undergo Laramie, Wyoming, the place McIntyre is already taking courses and making ready for his upcoming freshman season. His days of offensive heroics seem like over, however all his data of offensive packages will assist him as soon as once more as a security for the Cowboys.
Again dwelling in Fremont, the Knights will miss him dearly. The variety of faculty information that McIntyre set is sort of too many to record — 34 passing touchdowns in a season, 65 profession passing touchdowns, 111 profession touchdowns and seven,926 profession all-purpose yards are a few of his most spectacular marks.
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And relating to the query of whether or not McIntyre is the most effective athlete to ever stroll the halls of Archbishop Bergan, Mruz is the appropriate man to ask.
Mruz’s father was a 1975 graduate from the varsity, and the top soccer coach has been a part of Bergan athletics even earlier than his 2005 commencement. Mruz thinks of gamers like Scott Poehling, who was an all-state huge receiver and monitor star who finally certified for the Olympic monitor group. There have been Zach Wiegert and Brad Ottis, who each went on to be NFL Draft picks. And personally, Mruz noticed Wes Eikmeier develop right into a dominant basketball participant, win a state title and go on to play Division I school basketball.
Even amongst these legends, McIntyre stands out.
“I really feel very assured in saying that Koa is well top-of-the-line athletes, if not the (total) greatest athlete, in our faculty’s historical past,” Mruz stated. “I’m respectful to sports activities historical past having totally different eras and it is robust to throw out the ‘GOAT’ time period, however I believe he has the resume and proper to assert it. I might put Koa equal or above these guys, he’s that particular.”
Reflecting again on his highschool profession, McIntyre credit a lot of his success to him and his teammates embracing laborious work and a tradition of competing on the highest degree that allowed them to by no means again down from a problem.
And that proper there may be what McIntyre’s legacy can be in Fremont — he didn’t simply put in nice performances on the sector, he pushed everybody round him to be higher as effectively.
“It’s a blessing, and I’d prefer to thank all of the coaches which have helped me get up to now in my life,” McIntyre stated. “It was all about embracing our tradition, so every time I wore that Bergan shirt I wished to embrace it each time. I believe I did a superb job of that.”
Luke Mullin: Shifty RB, rising sophomore amongst 5 gamers who impressed on the LPS soccer jamboree
Attain the author at 402-473-7437 or at LMullin@journalstar.com. On Twitter @lmullin7