State Journal Senior Athlete of the Year: Ryan Barrass, Western Hills

State Journal Staff Report Published:

Ryan Barrass was a typical child, playing a variety of sports.

It didn’t take him long to narrow that list to two – baseball and basketball.

Turns out he made the right call.

Barrass, who graduated from Western Hills this spring, has been named The State Journal Senior Athlete of the Year for the 2011-2012 school year.

This past year Barrass was named to the All-County teams for both baseball and basketball.

In baseball he hit .434 with an on-base percentage of .520, and he finished the season with 20 runs batted in while scoring 23 runs.

Barrass, a pitcher and infielder, was the Wolverines’ co-MVP along with Dylan Manley.

This past winter he led the WHHS basketball team in scoring with an average of 19.7 points per game, shooting 52.5 percent from the field and 72.4 percent from the foul line. He also averaged 3.6 rebounds a game.

Barrass graduated with a 3.8 grade point average and a Commonwealth Diploma.

He’s now attending Transylvania University, where he’s a member of the baseball team.

This is the eighth year for the Senior Athlete of the Year award, which is voted on by area journalists. Past winners are Will Current of Frankfort High in 2005, Charles Keene of Western Hills in 2006, Kaelin Ammons of Franklin County in 2007, E.J. Fields of Frankfort High in 2008, Keri Metcalf of Frankfort High in 2009, J.T. Riddle of Western Hills in 2010, and Meagan Walker of Western Hills in 2011.

What sports did you play growing up?

Baseball, basketball, football and soccer.

When did you narrow the sports down to baseball and basketball?

When I started playing AAU basketball and on a traveling baseball team. I was about eight years old when I cut out soccer. I still played football, but that got to be too much so I cut down on football when I was 10 or 11.

What caused you to stick with those two sports?

The traveling aspect. There were more competitive games, and as a little kid you love staying at different places. There was traveling soccer but that wasn’t a high priority with me, and they didn’t offer traveling football.

Will you play basketball in college?

They offered me a chance to play basketball, but I think that’s too much with school so I’m staying with baseball.

How do you feel about playing just one sport?

I’m all right giving up basketball, but when I see them play UK or go to another game it’ll be hard. I played basketball in the gym last week, and it’ll be hard, but I know baseball is the way to go.

What’s your favorite sports memory at Western Hills?

Probably my junior year of baseball when Michael Bennett hit the game-winning home run against Woodford County in the district final, and my sophomore year when we beat Tates Creek in the regional for baseball.

Which do you prefer, pitching or playing in the field?

Playing in the field. It would be OK if you were just pitching, but when you pitch and then play in the field the next day your arm is just dragging. There’s more action to it, and you get to hit, too.

How hard was it to pick a college?

I was interested in Southern Indiana and looking at them pretty hard, but they signed a couple of juco players, and Transy was on my list. When it came down to the last two schools it was an easy decision. It’s close to home, it’s a good academic school and I know a lot of kids going there.

Were you happy with your baseball career at Western Hills?

I think we overachieved a little bit. When we got coach (Seth) Knight, coach (Eric) Grubb, coach Q (John Quintell) and coach Bubba (Martin), it put a new aspect to everything.

My sophomore year we had a good team and won the district. We faced Tates Creek (in the region) and beat them that year. My junior year we faced (Woodford pitcher) Clint Hollon and we weren’t expected to beat him at all, and we won that game and the district. We didn’t win this year, but we were expected to be run-ruled and it was 3-1. I was pretty pleased with our performance.

What is your biggest regret about your athletic career at Western Hills?

Not lifting earlier in my career. I don’t really regret anything I did. I had fun in all the sports I played, and I wouldn’t change it.

The Voting

First-place votes are worth five points each, second-place votes are worth three and third-place votes worth one point each. There were seven seniors nominated

for the award in all.

1. Ryan Barrass (WHHS).........39

2. Abbi Stamper (FCHS).......23

3. Kaleb Leach (FHS)...............17

What the voters had to say:

Ryan Barrass was simply outstanding in both baseball and basketball. Not only did he put up great numbers in both areas, but he’s a strong leader in both sports as well. Barrass will be successful in whatever he chooses to do with his future. – Brian Rickerd

Ryan Barrass was the best player on the baseball and basketball teams for Western Hills. He averaged almost 20 points per game in basketball and his .430 batting average was good enough to earn him co-MVP honors in baseball. He was named All-County in both sports. To be the best in one sport requires a lot of hard work. To be the best in two sports requires a level of dedication that can’t be ignored when naming the Athlete of the Year. – Josh Raymer

Barrass was just a model of consistency and hard work. He impressed me with his improvement through his career at Western Hills. – John Herndon, Anderson News

Past Winners

2005 – Will Current, FHS

2006 – Charles Keene, WHHS

2007 – Kaelin Ammons, FCHS

2008 – E.J. Fields, FHS

2009 – Keri Metcalf, FHS

2010 – J.T. Riddle, WHHS

2011 – Meagan Walker, WHHS

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