Former Series MVP, Larned resident shares experience; top GCCC athletes honored at banquet.

5/9/2013

Former Series MVP, Larned resident shares experience; top GCCC athletes honored at banquet.

Former Series MVP, Larned resident shares experience; top GCCC athletes honored at banquet.

By ADAM HOLT

aholt@gctelegram.com

When Ralph Terry looked out at the full gym in the Perryman Athletic Complex, he saw a lot of potential.

As someone who's seen his fair share of athletes and coaches in his days, he made sure to relay a message he'd gotten from those who meant a lot to him: you can do more than you think you can.

Terry, a former Major League Baseball player and professional golfer, was the keynote speaker at the Garden City Community College athletics banquet Wednesday, and wanted to make sure he could convey some of the messages he's gathered through a wealth of experience.

"There's quite a few in this room who will move on up to higher levels," Terry said afterward in an interview with The Telegram. "Bright, young faces, eager and enthusiastic, and happy. We should be thankful that we have athletic abilities. So it's a pleasure. It's a special night for these people, and they deserve to be recognized for their long hours of practice and work."

Terry had plenty of memories to share, from his first walk out to the mound as an 18-year-old rookie in spring training with the New York Yankees, to a crucial ninth inning against Willie Mays and the San Francisco Giants in Game 7 of the 1962 World Series. Holding onto a 1-0 lead with men on second and third, he recalled how he trusted second baseman Bobby Richardson's fielding instincts, and how Richardson was just barely in position to catch Willie McCovey's line drive to end the game and win the series for the Yankees. Terry was named World Series MVP for his two wins in the series.

The Oklahoma-native and current Larned resident also talked about the impact coaches and managers he's had have made on him, making special note of former Yankees manager Casey Stengel.

And being able to relate those experiences to a new generation wasn't something Terry took lightly.

"It was awesome. I guess it's a humbling experience," he said. "You've got a short period of time to say a few well-chosen words, you know? It's a responsibility to talk to people. We've been where they've been, and they haven't been a lot of places we've been. If we can just share some of our experiencess, it's a responsibility. And it's also a pleasure to talk to these talented young people. They're very talented to play at this level."

After his career as a big league pitcher was over — one that featured five trips to the World Series — Terry took up golf, playing in four PGA events and playing on the Senior PGA Tour in the 1980s.

A big part of Terry's message was something he heard, then passed on to the crowd at the DPAC: However much you think you can do, you can do 30 percent more.

"You gotta think that way," Terry said. "You've gotta think positive. And it's true, most people don't come near to realizing their potential. You've gotta work at it. But if you enjoy and like it, it's not work, it's fun."

The rest of the banquet featured each coach recognizing his or her athletes, as well as issuing a number of team awards. The athletic training staff and cheer and dance teams were honored as well.

The school also recognized its male and female athletes of the year. Quarterback Nick Marshall was the male athlete of the year, beating out teammate Tyreek Hill, golfer Will Paulsell and cross-country/trackster Chris Zirkle. Women's basketball's Tamara Jones won the female athlete award, over cross-country's Kelsea Geschwentner and volleyball's Natalia Parreira.

Football player Devin Ritter, who enrolled at Presbyterian College in South Carolina to play football at the beginning of spring semester, was named scholar-athlete of the year. The other finalists were baseball's Chris Bonk and women's basketball's Deni Jacobs.

In a final moment at the end of the banquet, baseball coach Chris Finnegan thanked outgoing women's basketball coach Alaura Sharp for what she's done for the program since taking over in 2009. Sharp had previously gotten a big ovation from the crowd when she took the podium to recognize her team, and is leaving to take an assistant coaching position at Southern Mississippi.

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