Athletes of the Month: Riley Walkington & Jarrett Mitton
Sandpoint High School junior Riley Walkington is passionate about the sport she has played almost her entire life—soccer. Riley was named Inland Empire League’s Most Valuable Player, the Regional IV Team alternate, North Idaho Soccer Player of the Year and the captain of Sandpoint High School soccer and Eastern Washington ODP (Olympic Development Program) team. But it is not just on the soccer field where she displays commitment and excellence; Riley has been on the honor roll and maintained a 4.0 GPA all throughout high school. She has always received the President’s Award and the Outstanding Individual Scholastic Award.
While there have been many accolades throughout the years, Riley said the best is yet to come. “My biggest accomplishment in soccer came when I committed to play Division I soccer at Eastern Washington University,” said Riley.
While she experienced a torn MCL this season, she has focused on being positive so she can get back out on the field as soon as possible. “I enjoy soccer because it gives me an outlet to forget about everything else going on in my life,” said Riley. “Once I step foot on the field, all my troubles go away, and it’s just me, the ball and my team.”
Riley shared that her career interests include criminology, teaching and social work, “mainly because I enjoy helping others,” she said.
Whatever comes her way, Riley said being involved in sports has taught her an important lesson that she will carry with her always: “The biggest life lesson I have learned from participating in sports has been that you will have highs and lows, not only on the field but in life as well.”
Sandpoint High School senior Jarrett Mitton is a passionate athlete who said he enjoys weightlifting above all else. He currently plays on the Sandpoint High School varsity football team as well as the track team and maintains a 3.8 GPA.
“My favorite part about playing football has been the bus rides with my teammates and the memories we have created together on and off the field,” said Jarrett.
He has had some challenges along the way including multiple shoulder injuries, which has meant sacrificing time in the weight room and on the field. But after a month of physical therapy, he said his shoulders were stable enough to begin weight training again.
Jarrett plans to attend Idaho State University where he will study exercise science. “I don’t plan on playing any collegiate level sports,” said Jarrett, “only furthering my athletic career as an avid weightlifter.
He shares that he is passionate about the field of sports medicine and helping others grow stronger, both mentally and physically. “After earning a major in exercise science, I plan to apply for the doctor of physical therapy program at ISU,” said Jarrett.
As he moves forward on his journey, Jarrett will take a lesson he learned in football and apply it to his everyday life: “Just like life, football will knock you down and try to keep you there, but it’s not about getting knocked down, it’s about getting back up,” said Jarrett.