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Hillcrest senior soccer player Rylee Gritton wants another crack at the Class 4A state soccer tournament.

While she appreciated the moment when Hillcrest kicked down the playoff door after a six-year absence, she wonders what could have happened if she had been completely healthy.

Gritton suffered a serious concussion in the first game of the 2011 regular season and never quite got back to full speed. She finished with just four goals.

"It took me a while to get cleared to play, and I just didn't feel like myself all year," she said.

Scoring has not been a problem this season. Gritton has found the back of the net 14 times and helped her team to a 5-2 record in Region 7 play entering the week.

"I told her this year that it's her job to score," Hillcrest coach Megan Beckstead said.

Gritton has been superb in region play. She's scored 11 goals in seven games to help her team solidify the No. 2 spot in Region 7.

"I think she's comfortable in the scorer's role, and she knows she has to produce for us to be successful," Beckstead said.

Region 7 crosses into a tough Region 6 in the first round of the 4A playoffs, and Gritton and Beckstead know there is not a lot of room for error with a one-game lead.

"We can't have any mental lapses, and we need to keep playing hard even if we get behind," Gritton said.

Although the nerves of a first-round playoff appearance should be somewhat quelled, Beckstead feels that Gritton and 11 other Huskies seniors should have the mental fortitude to make a deeper run this season.

"I think we were just happy to be there last year, but I expect a little more this season," Beckstead said.

Gritton hopes to play in front of her home crowd in the playoffs one more time.

"Seeing an entire sideline filled with Hillcrest fans gave us such a lift and is something I'm not used to or will ever forget," she said.

Court smarts

Hillcrest's No. 1 doubles team of Hannah Choi and Megan Rammasch is putting together a good season on the tennis court. It recently beat the No. 1 squad from Skyline. It would be difficult to outsmart the Hillcrest tennis duo: Choi has a 3.9 grade-point average, while Rammasch has a perfect 4.0 GPA entering her senior season.

Defensive debut

Olympus fullback Jake Jones picked a fine time to make his first appearance on defense in Friday's 34-13 win over Murray.

Jones leads the team in rushing with 555 yards, but he played defensive end for the first time this year Friday. He notched 10 tackles and two quarterback sacks.

Links news

The Murray golf team has been a nice surprise, playing some of the best golf in Region 7. The Spartans are led by Cameron Howe, who could be one of the medalist contenders in next week's Class 5A state tournament. —

Meet Rylee Gritton

Hillcrest senior forward Rylee Gritton suffered a serious concussion in 2011 and never quite regained her form, scoring just four goals.

Gritton has 14 goals with three games to go. She is four short of the school record held by former player turned assistant coach Rebecca Riddle (Young).

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