Unbreakable spirit lifted McGuinness' Perry to new heights in soccer, track
Perry rebounded to become a three sport state champion

Future Notre Dame athlete rebounded from back injury to become a state champ in football, soccer and track

by Jenni Carlson Modified: June 8, 2007 at 10:40 pm •  Published: June 8, 2007
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Th
ey wanted him to wear a hard plastic brace that encased his midsection. The only time he could take it off was when he was sleeping.

His back needed to heal, and he needed to rest and allow it to do so.

"This was an injury that doesn't heal that easily,” said his mother, a former registered nurse.

Janet Perry remembers talking to her mother, so worried about Steven.

"Oh, honey,” her mother said, "he's more than an athlete.”

"I know, Mom,” Janet said, "but he really loves to play.”

Double duty
Doctors finally gave Steven Perry the all-clear at the beginning of his sophomore year.

He's been playing like never before ever since.

As a junior, he joined the football team midway through the season. In desperate need of a kicker, the coaches convinced him to help them out.

Then during conditioning one day, assistant Scott Stevenson was timing players in the 40-yard dash. The first time Perry ran, Stevenson said he'd clocked a 4.7. The next time, 4.6. The third time, 4.5.

Stevenson later told Perry that wasn't true; Perry had run a 4.5 every time.

The coach just didn't believe it.

"Have you ever thought about running track?” Stevenson, who also coaches track, asked Perry.

The coach convinced him not only to run but also to jump. Perry took on the extremely technical high jump and long jump. It's one thing to run. It's quite another to figure out how to launch your body 6-plus feet over a bar.

All along, though, soccer remained Perry's focus. He would miss a track meet if he had a soccer game. He would practice track on his own instead of missing soccer.

One fine day
To understand Steven Perry and what makes him tick, you must know about the day of the 2007 state soccer quarterfinals.

Also the first day of the state track meet, Perry went to Moore that morning for the high jump. By noon, he'd won the event with a personal best of 6-feet-6. A few hours later, he ran in the 400-meter relay preliminaries before returning to McGuinness for the soccer game.

All he did was score three goals in a 3-0 victory that night.

"Not a bad day,” Worthington quipped.

The next day, the track team capped it second consecutive championship. A week later, the soccer team won a title of its own with Perry scoring the game-winning goal.

Not a bad week.

Not a bad year either.


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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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All about Steven

Athletics

Soccer All-City Offensive Player of the Year as a senior. Scored the game-winning goal in the Class 5A state finals. Led the state with 40 goals. Bishop Kelley Tournament MVP. Second-team All-City as a junior. Will play soccer at Notre Dame.

State high jump champion and long jump runner-up as a senior. Also won gold in the 1,600-meter relay. First-team Little-All City high jumper, second-team long jumper. Member of back-to-back state championship teams.

Two-year starting kicker in football. Played on Class 4A state championship team as senior.

Academics

Scored 29 out of 36 on ACT. Ranked among the top 10 percent in class of 145. Weighted grade point average of 4.4. National Honor Society. National Spanish Honor Society. AP Scholar. National Soccer Coaches Association of America Scholar All-American. More than 370 community service hours.

College choice: Notre Dame

Also nominated from Bishop McGuinness: Fiamma Felitch, Michael Sosanya

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