No matter which of the three varsity sports Sophi Wrisk played during her junior year at Catonsville High, she carried a winning attitude, players fed off her positive energy and coaches marveled at her ability to turn a sour moment into a sweet one.
The 2019 Catonsville Times Female Athlete of the Year was also talented in all three sports, earning All-County and All-Division I honors in volleyball, being a stellar defensive stopper and rebounder in basketball and earning an All-County honorable mention selection in lacrosse, while scoring 33 goals, despite missing two weeks with a calf injury.
She was already committed before the season to play lacrosse for the 2019 national champion University of Maryland squad.
In late June, Wrisk played for the Baltimore Girls in the Under Armour Highlight Division as part of Under Armour Lacrosse weekend.
The Baltimore Highlight girls were 23 girls selected after a tryout of rising juniors and seniors.
Wrisk was one of six public school girls to make the Baltimore team and the only one selected from Baltimore County.
Baltimore won six straight games and captured the championship with a 14-13 victory over Conny Girls in the title clash.
Wrisk scored six goals and added two assists for the champions in the tournament.
Getting to play in the summer lacrosse classic didn’t come without health obstacles that began late in the volleyball season after she had amassed 78 kills, 26 blocks, 21 aces and 39 digs as a left-handed right-side hitter.
“I actually kind of got diagnosed with a kidney infection and I was in the hospital for a week, so I missed the first round of the playoffs and then a little bit of the beginning of basketball,” Wrisk said.
Wrisk started playing varsity volleyball as a freshman at Mount de Sales, before transferring to Catonsville for her sophomore year.
She was one of three captains this season and was a captain as a sophomore for coach Tonya Feaster.
“That helps with her being a positive person and kind of building everybody up and letting them know that if they do their job, she can do hers,” Feaster said.
Wrisk was there to do her job during the most critical points for the 8-5 Comets.
“She was definitely my go-to player, whenever I needed a point or we needed to get out of a cycle, I would tell my setter to set Sophi,” said Feaster, noting her kill total was second on the team.
Feaster also liked her willingness to improve.
“I think the best thing about her, even though she is a very skilled athlete, is she is one of those kids who just always wants to get better,” Feaster said. “Definitely her attitude is one of the motivating factors in helping her to be such a great athlete.”
Catonsville basketball coach Mike Mohler knew she was an athlete when she was a key reserve on the 2018 team that lost in the state title game.
In the Comets’ 78-42 win over Paint Branch in the Class 4A North Region championship game, star player Jasmine Dickey (University of Delaware) picked up her second foul with 11:43 left until halftime and Wrisk came off the bench and contributed five points, six rebounds and two assists.
“She did a great job,” Mohler said. “Jasmine is on the bench and I’m taking gas and we actually increased the lead.”
Dickey returned and scored 26 of her game-high 28 points in the second half.
Starters Dickey, Jameila Barrett and Stashia Daniels, who all graduated in 2018, were also key performers on the 2017 state champions.
This season, Wrisk was destined to be one of the leaders, along with senior Gabby Douglas, but she missed the early part of the season after complications from her kidney infection set her back mentally and physically.
“Mentally, I just wanted to get back into it, but my coach was constantly telling me ‘You’ve got to slow down and take a break, take your time,’ but I just never really wanted to stop and take a break, ”Wrisk said. “Physically, just gaining back my endurance and everything and just getting used to running 24-7, was again hard.”
“I’m not sure she ever got totally recovered in our season, but even still, she always gave it her all and she always does,” Mohler said. “She’s just got a great attitude, works hard all the time. Battling through what she battled through speaks volumes about that kid.”
Wrisk averaged 5.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals for the Comets.
“For us, her biggest asset is certainly her athleticism, her tenacity, defense and rebounding,” Mohler said. “She and I kind of laugh at the offense, not that she is a bad offensive player, she’s not the best three-point shooter.”
Mohler recalled a game when the Comets were way ahead and Wrisk tried a three-pointer.
“It kind of clanked off and we looked at each other and I said, ‘I’m not sure that’s your game.’ ” Mohler said.
Wrisk recalled the moment well.
“I definitely remember that, he told me to stick to lacrosse,” she said.
It wasn’t the only time Mohler cracked a smile because of Wrisk.
“She said, ‘When coach Mike is in a bad mood, I can make him smile,’ and she does, she’s just got that way about her because you know she is always going to give you 100 percent or more,” Mohler said.
“I always just messed around with him, always tried to get a smile on his face when he was mad at us,” she said.
She had him smiling when the 17-7 Comets defeated Perry Hall, 70-41 in a first-round playoff game when Wrisk scored 13 points and had four steals.
“We are looking for big things from her next year, a senior leader,” Mohler said. “Like all these other three-sport kids, she’s so good athletically, if she wanted to concentrate on basketball, she would be a really, really good player.”
Mohler knew lacrosse was the sport where she will prosper and gave her all the options to take it easy and not go full tilt.
“It’s never part of her makeup not to give you anything but her best,” he said.
She actually enjoys playing defense in basketball.
“I’m very aggressive on defense and I’m just doing what I can to help my teammates score rather more then myself,” Wrisk said.
That made her transition from basketball to lacrosse much easier.
“Basketball definitely helps with footwork and everything which is why it’s such a great thing to come from basketball right to lacrosse just to get my footwork down and helping me with that, but I’ve just always been kind of aggressive I guess,” said Wrisk, who gained that feistiness from a sibling. “I guess I kind of got that from my brother (Brenden), we are both the same way when it comes to lacrosse, we just want that ball, we don’t want to give it up.”
Brenden Wrisk played at Mount St. Joseph and Salisbury University.
In addition to her 33 goals, she added six assists and 12 draw controls.
Catonsville lacrosse coach Cantey Bailey praised her ability to feed and score and was impressed with her defensive ability.
“I attribute that 100 percent to her basketball,” Bailey said. “She’s got great footwork on defense and she’s got the speed where she can stay with a player through transition and then to defend and kind of body up on them.”
The 11-4 Comets defeated Class 3A state champion Westminster, Class 4A state finalist Dulaney and Class 1A state finalist Loch Raven during the regular season, but were beaten by Howard 15-14 in the regional quarterfinals in a game they led for all but about 40 seconds.
Kolby Weedon, one of the leading scorers with Lindsey Marshall and Wrisk, went down early in the second half with an injury and didn’t return.
Wrisk, who missed games against key opponents because of her calf injury, still found a silver lining despite the loss in the playoffs.
Wrisk’s favorite memories were: “Definitely just making it to counties again, having a great record and just hanging out with the team,” she said. “On and off the field, we just had such good chemistry and from the beginning, we just always bonded and I’ve never played on such a fun team. They definitely really just went all out, which I couldn’t appreciate more.”
Bailey appreciated her vibrant personality and ability to make it rub off.
“I think she is just a genuine person and she genuinely cares,” Bailey said. “When she asks something, you know that she’s not just doing it because she thinks it’s the right thing, she genuinely cares about you and about her teammates. They see that and that is one of those things that enabled her to jump right in as soon as she transferred.”
She fit in with her teammates in all three sports and excelled.
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“She is truly a three-sport athlete and is one of those throwbacks,” Mohler said. “Throwbacks in three sports, you don’t find many anymore, so it’s just great to see that three-sport players are still active and doing all three on a very high level.”