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In the pool, on the field or up against the net — Brigham Young University fans watch the student athletes compete. However, there is more to BYU athletes than meets the eye. Whether a soccer star or a volleyball phenom, each athlete has a story to tell outside of the game.

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Brock Whitney F AST PITCH Class: junior
 Hometown: South Jordan, Utah
 Position: infield, right-handed pitcher

Photo by BYU Athletics/Jaren Wilkey

Brock Whitney plays on the Cougar baseball team, but his talents extend into other spheres.

Height: 6-3
 Weight: 200
 Major: exercise science
 LDS mission: Monterrey, Mexico Average: .260
 Runs: 22
 RBI: 19
 Hits: 32
 Doubles: 4
 Total Bases: 39


While some people find it hard to find something interesting to say about themselves on the first day of school, junior baseball player Brock Whitney always has something to fall back on — and it’s not the fact that he plays for the BYU baseball team. 3

Whitney, a .267 first baseman for the BYU baseball team, is much more than a baseball player. He was an athletic kid growing up and was always in search of new hobbies and interests. When he was in high school, a friend helped him find a new talent he didn’t realize he had. “My friend (Justin Sorenson) was big into unicycling,” Whitney said. “He had like six or seven unicycles and he would ride them around. It looked fun and it looked hard. I was kind of into doing difficult things and trying to branch out in that point of my life.” Whitney decided to give it a try. “He gave me a few pointers and let me borrow one of his unicycles, and through a lot of pain on my shins and falling over I finally figured it out and it just clicked,” Whitney said. Whitney’s first-year coach, Mike Littlewood, said that in the short time he’s known Whitney, he can see how his desire to do hard things has translated to baseball. “I think Brock’s one of the most talented guys,” Littlewood said. “He’s not afraid to compete against anybody and that sets a great example for our team, especially our young guys. I can see how that would translate into doing something new and trying to stretch himself.” His love for unicycling became a a part of his college applications as he and a few other friends were able to form an official club in high school. Brock Whitney has been riding the unicycle since high school. Photo by Jamie Morris


“We got a couple of our friends interested in unicycling and they learned as well,” Whitney said. “We ended up thinking we could do something with this. We were also on yearbook and thought it was another way we could get our pictures in the yearbook. So we made it a club and I think me, Justin and one other kid were the only ones that could ride, but we got as many people as we could to sign up for the club and it was kind of fun.”

Whitney's passion for both baseball and unicycling has given him something he can always talk about. "It’s interesting and every first day of class I always have something I can say,” Whitney said. “Whereas some people say not very original things, I can say I ride a unicycle.”

After high school, college baseball and a mission to Monterrey, Mexico, his unicycling was put on hold, but now Whitney still rides it for fun during his free time.

Hits: 32

His advice to others who want to try unicycling is to be patient and persistent. “First off, it’s hard, but there comes a point where you just find a perfect balance and once you find that point it’s just like you’ve been doing it your whole life,” Whitney said. “I would wear shin guards, especially if you have metal pedals. (It can be) fairly discouraging. I think I spent four hours straight just trying to pedal twice. It was bad, but I stuck with it and it’s fun.”

RBI: 19 Runs: 22

Average: .260




4 Photo by BYU Athletics/Jaren Wilkey


Photos by Jamie Morris



Erica Owens KICK - OFF Class: junior
 Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
 Position: goal keeper
 Height: 5-11
 Major: exercise and wellness

Photo courtesy of Erica Owens

Erica Owens has been playing the piano since she was a 4-year-old, a talent that took just as much effort to accomplish as soccer did.

Minutes: 2191:24
 Goals: 13
 Saves: 77
 Wins: 15
 Losses: 1
 Ties: 2
 Shots: 12


Whether she's under the lights of the soccer field or the lights of a stage, senior soccer goalie Erica Owens is a natural performer. 7

In her junior year, Owens achieved 77 saves and 12 shutouts – good enough for first in the West Coast Conference in goals against average, total shutouts and save percentage. She was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-West Region Second Team, AllWCC First Team and All-America Second Team. She also helped lead her team to a historic season, going 20-2-2 and being selected as the No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament, the highest seed ever for a woman’s team at BYU and the highest seed in the team’s history. The Cougars made it as far as the quarterfinals but fell to North Carolina at home, 2-1, in double overtime. While Owens excels on the soccer field, she is also an accomplished pianist. “I think piano would probably be the big thing outside of soccer,” Owens said. “If I wouldn’t have chosen soccer, I would Photos by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo


have pursued piano performance. I’ve played since I can remember. I think I started when I was 4, and it began with my mom just teaching me songs, and I would memorize them and practice them. So I didn’t ever follow the music, but then as I got older I started looking at music.” Soccer and piano seem to be worlds apart, but Owens said it takes the same amount of dedication and hard work to be good at both. “I would probably say that (piano and soccer are similar) with the amount of dedication they take, especially when it comes to learning technique as a goalie,” Owens said. “I have to spend a lot of time perfecting everything I do because you can’t really make mistakes as a goalie. I guess they are very similar in that aspect.”

Owens continues to play the piano when she's not busy playing soccer, and she said she is called to be the ward pianist in most wards she attends. Ultimately, this star soccer player feels that her two loves aren’t much different. “I don’t know if there is much of a difference,” Owens said. “The rush that I get from both of them is very similar because I’ve put a lot of time into both of them. So if I perform well, then I get this big rush of excitement like, ‘Yeah, I just did that, and it was awesome.’”

Owens said her mother has been a huge influence on both her soccer and piano playing. “My mom would get all of the credit on that because she drilled me and taught me how to practice perfectly and taught me how to put the time towards it, and that has transferred over to soccer,” Owens said. “It all comes down to practicing it perfect, as I said. It’s not the practice that makes perfect but perfect practice that makes perfect.” Owens' style on the piano is much like it is on the soccer field. She can play recognizable pieces including "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Hungarian Rhapsody," which both require a lot of technical skill and practice. Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo

“I’m very technical, fast and showy,” Owens said. “Usually that’s what I stick with.” 9

Video edited by Jamie Morris

Photo by Francesco Colazingari



Adam Hine KICK - OFF Class: sophomore
 Hometown: Santa Clara, UT
 Position: running back
 Height: 6-1
 Weight: 202
 Major: exercise science
 LDS mission: Panama City, Panama

Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo



Long before he put on his BYU football helmet, Adam Hine wore a different kind as he rode around La Verkin, Utah, with his bicycle gang. They’d congregate after elementary school and then get busy building jumps out of the dirt. Hine, a running back on BYU's football team, put great effort into football, track and basketball while he was growing up. However, he also made time for a different kind of sport — BMX.

“I had a really nice bike that I got for Christmas one year,” Hine said. “But I guess I'd say I misbehaved a little bit, so my dad sold it. So I was heartbroken." His friends ended up putting together a bike for him, and tenyear-old Hine and his buddies hit the pavement and the dirt. He and the others started out popping wheelies down the street and competing to see who could pop them the fastest. “A lot of times it was for fun, but it got a little competitive,” Hine said. “Every day we pushed each other more and more.”

Video courtesy of Adam Hine Photo by Elliott Miller


Hine eventually began developing his bike-trick repertoire by watching his friends and videos of BMX greats like Dave Mirra and Ryan Nyquist. He watched the pros and then went out and tried to do the tricks on his own.

chucks, a gutsy cliff jumper and an occasional break-dancer. But above all, Hine is an undaunted and committed person in whatever he does. "He's the most humble kid that you'll ever meet," Liberatore said. "There are so many things he's good at and no one has a clue."

“Once you start landing those tricks, there's nothing that feels better,” Hine said. “It feels really good to fly in the air.” Adam Hine runs the ball in spring practice.

Major wipeouts, scraped-up shins and a sprained ankle kept Hine somewhat cautious because of his commitments in other sports. However, he remained undaunted and developed abilities that he took from the dirt jumps to the football field. Hine said he learned concentration and how to not be scared of doing things he hadn’t done before. Hine's best friend and go-to jump constructor since ninthgrade football camp, Alex Liberatore, revealed just how well rounded Hine is. He is a talented ceramicist, a master of nun-

Hine's focus and fearlessness helped him earn a spot on the BYU football roster after being a threePhoto by Sarah Strobel Hill year letter winner at Snow Canyon High School and making the All-State First Team. He also lettered four times in track and was the three-time long and high jump state champion. “A lot of skills can transfer over — just being fearless and going for it,” Hine said. “I didn't land the backflip the first time I tried it, and it's the same thing with football. You try new things; you hit the hole a little bit harder sometimes; you get a concussion maybe ... you just have to go hard.”


Hine kept BMXing through high school and practiced his tricks with consistency and without discouragement. “I really like the 360, but everybody's favorite is the backflip,” Hine said. “The backflip's the most difficult really, but once you get the hang of it, it's your favorite trick. You get up, you whip your head back, you whip the bike back and you can actually spot your landing the whole time. Then you just pull your bike in front of you and land and keep going and hit the next whoop-de-dos.” Liberatore said Hine came into their high school ceramics class one day and said something like, "I think I want to try to land a backflip on my bike today." So his buddies helped him build a jump over by his house. According to Liberatore, Hine landed the backflip a few YouTube videos, about eight crashes and two days later.

Video by Madeleine Brown

"Fear is not existent in Adam Hine's body," Liberatore said. "He even bent a pair of handlebars. They went into his stomach, but he just bent them because of his muscles when he probably should have been like a shish kebab. He got new handlebars going, and then a couple jumps later he threw the backflip."

Photo by Elliott Miller


Photo by Sarah Strobel Hill

Hine's intrepidity and persistence in BMX crossed over into not only football but also other aspects of life. “It's just like, same thing with life,” Hine said. “If you want to do something, you just have to put your mind to it. There's nothing holding you back. Even if you've got critics saying this or that, just go for it.”

Photo by Elliott Miller

Hine plans to do just that this upcoming season of football. An injury kept him on the sidelines for most of 2012, but 2013 looks promising, and Hine is already making a splash at spring practices.



Kyle Rose

F AST B REAK Class: freshman
 Hometown: Beaverton, Ore.
 Position: guard
 Height: 6-0
 Weight: 180
 Major: pre-accounting
 LDS mission: Salt Lake City South

Photo by © Deseret News, Scott Winterton

Kyle Rose (15) goes up for a shot against Raul Delgado (1) during Cougar Tipoff on Oct. 24, 2012. 16


Kyle Rose sits in the locker room and laces up his team-issue basketball shoes before hitting the court. He's living out his lifelong dream of playing for the Brigham Young University basketball team. But outside of practice, Rose's sports shoes just don't make the cut compared to his Air Max Ones, Jordan Fours or Foamposites. A redshirt freshman on the BYU basketball team, Rose has collected about 150 pairs of shoes — Nikes and Jordans, specifically, plus about 20 other pairs of everyday shoes. What Rose says began as a “mini obsession” with shoes was fueled by visits to his dad’s office at Nike. In junior high Rose wore a size 9 — the perfect size for leftover sample shoes, which were a perk of his father's job. His friends started noticing that he was wearing different shoes to school all of the time and wanted to trade him, and that’s when he said shoes became his hobby. “Seventh grade is when I started to collect and care which pairs I had and try to get the best pairs,” Rose said.

Even before that, Rose had been indoctrinated that Nikes are the best. He has been wearing Nikes since the time he first had shoes on his feet. “He probably had a pair of Jordans on him when he came home from the hospital,” said Rose’s father, Scott Rose. “He had a Jordan onesie and matching crib booties.” Scott Rose has worked at Nike throughout his son’s entire life, so shoes were always abundant at the Rose home. He said shoes are everywhere you look in the house, filling the closets and garage like food storage. Kyle Rose was taught to appreciate shoes at a young age. “The very first time I can remember him having an opinion about shoes was in the fifth or fourth grade when he had a dress-up day,” his father said. "He always matched everything, but on that day I remember him wearing a black pair of Jordans on one foot and a white pair on the other foot.” Young Kyle Rose's favorite shoes back then were high-top Nike Dunks, nicknamed Sea Crystals, that he would sport with a matching shirt, of course.


Photos by Madeleine Brown

He has kept up his collection ever since he started. He and a teammate used to camp out overnight for shoes. They’d wait in line with their the shoes until their Nike-employed fathers came in the morning to purchase them. “He knew at a very young age everything that was exclusive enough that he wanted it be to be part of his collection,” Scott said. Kyle Rose's collection just kept growing as his father taught him about new technologies and up-and-coming shoe releases. During his senior year, he had the opportunity to work with the Nike design team to create the shoes for his high school basketball team. With the Hyper Dunk as his starting ground, he built the color and added school logos. Also during his senior year, the avid shoe collector went the first 60 days of school without repeating the same pair of shoes. His roommate and best friend since seventh grade, Mitch Mathews, said, "I was always jealous because he'd go to school for two to three months without wearing the same pair of shoes." Aside from coordinating his footwear, Kyle Rose was also busy coordinating his Eagle Scout project. He raised money and donated Nike shoes and other gear to different charities. Since then, Rose has continued to look outside himself and is always ready to share. In addition to letting trustworthy

Photo by Kristin Rose

Even when Kyle Rose was younger, he matched his outfits with his shoes.

friends borrow from his collection, he gives up his shoes to make others happy. In December 2012, he met Garrett Card at the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation. Rose found out Card was interested in Nike shoes too, and they got to talking shop. “That’s what he wanted for Christmas, so I ended up giving him a pair out of my closet at a game,” Rose said. “He was super stoked. He couldn’t even say anything except thanks a billion times.” 19

As he continues his collection, the Nike purist keeps up on his research by spending time on blogs and shoe websites. Kyle Rose looks at the colors and the technologies as well as the history behind the shoe — especially when it comes to Jordans like the Jordan Fours he recently acquired. “He (Michael Jordan) wore these way, way back in the day — before I was born,” Kyle Rose said. “He hit a game-winning shot against Craig Ehlo in one of his most famous moments. These are one of my all-time favorite pairs of Jordans for sure.” Other shoes have special meaning to Rose because they are connected to important memories like a basketball tournament with his father during his sophomore year of high school or a significant basketball game. “I remember my senior night in high school for basketball I broke out this pair of Jordans that I had never worn before,” he said. “I wore them and played in them for senior night, and we won.” When he wears out a pair, a rare occurrence, Kyle Rose just throws them out or gives them away. Yet some shoes he has never worn and doesn’t ever plan to wear. He keeps all of his shoes, brand new or not, in the boxes with the tissue, but he said he has about 50 pairs still with pristine soles.

Photo by Jennifer Card

Kyle Rose gave Garrett Card a pair of shoes out of Rose's own closet after the game on Dec. 27, 2012.

“Honestly, some of them are just so nice and jut look so good I don't want to wear them,” Rose said. “I don't want to mess them up. I don't know why I do that, but I just can't bring myself to wear them.” 20

While he knows some people think he’s crazy, he also says a lot of people like his gigantic shoe collection. Some people even come over and look through the boxes and check out all of his shoes. Mathews said people are amazed when they come into Rose's room, and they ask him a lot of questions about the shoes. Even though he is fairly humble about his collection, he — like anyone with something new — sometimes wants to show them off. "One time he got four new pairs of shoes that were all the same but different colors," Mathews said. "He lined them up perfectly so people could check them out." With three more pairs on their way in the mail, Rose’s shoe collection just keeps growing, and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Nike shoes are probably in his life to stay, and his future spouse had better be okay with it.

Video by Madeleine Brown

His father said, “I think he's already picked out the pair he's wearing to his wedding — a pair of Italian-made Air Force Ones with crocodile skin.” In the meantime, Kyle Rose keeps sharing his shoes and awaits his big break in the BYU basketball program. He worked hard to reach his goal of playing for BYU, and since making tryouts, he has been practicing with the team and staying committed in hopes of getting his moment.



Taryn Lewis O FF THE B LOCK Class: senior
 Hometown: Alpine, Utah
 Strokes: breaststroke, freestyle
 Height: 5-9
 Major: elementary education

Photo by Julianne Horsley

Taryn Lewis goes from quickly swimming down the lanes to smoothly playing the cello.


Taryn Lewis revealed her talent and passion as she pulled out her cherry wood cello and began to bow Bach’s "Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 1," stringing out the long arpeggios and chords. 22

"If you want to be good at something, you need to love it first," said Lewis, a senior on BYU's swim team. For Lewis, music has always come easy. It came even easier than the athlete’s main sport. She credits her talent and work ethic to her father, a proficient pianist, and her mother, a Miss Idaho winner. While she definitely got the music genes, she said her diligence produced more than her ability.

instrument. The violin was too popular and overplayed, but the cello was unique and beautiful to her. Even though she no longer had to practice piano pieces she did not like to play, practicing the cello was still a challenge until she could see the improvement in her playing and performances.

“Because of that music background, music came easy but required hard work," Lewis said. "That ability to work hard in turn helped me out in my swimming."

"Growing up, I didn't like to play things that I didn't like, but I was forced to," Lewis said. "So, I recorded myself practicing one day Photo by Julianne Horsley on tape and then had it play over and over while I was in my room. It didn't take my mom very long to realize what I was doing."

Although the cello was her first choice, it was not the first instrument she tried. She started out on the piano at a young age, but it became more of a chore than an outlet.

With every symphony, concerto and Bach masterpiece, Lewis finds the most joy when she is able to combine both of her talents together to serve others.

“I hated practicing, but my mom wouldn't let me quit unless I started another instrument,” Lewis said. Low notes and the rarity were just a couple things that drew her to the long and low

BYU women's swim coach Shari Skabelund is impressed with how well Lewis bridges her sport and musical hobby together.

Photo by Wade Morgan


Video by Julianne Horsley

"Besides her talent with the cello, she also has a beautiful voice and has been willing to sing the national anthem with her teammates before our swim events," Skabelund said. "We have been asked several times at away meets if we could have our athletes perform the national anthem. They usually say, 'BYU is known for musical talent, and could you do this for us?'" Lewis said her music is a way she can befriend and comfort those who feel alone. “As athletes, we have lots of service opportunities," Lewis said. "When we would go to rest homes for FHE, I would bring my cello and we would all sing along. Even if it was the same song every month, the old folks were so sweet. They just loved having us come."

Photo by Julianne Horsley

Although the love for the cello does not outweigh swimming, Lewis recognizes the long-term benefits of having a musical talent and how it has enriched her life. “Swimming is very physical," she said. "But the cello, it’s something I can do until I’m 90 years old; whereas, swimming ends now.”


Benjamin Patch

Q UICK S ET Class: freshman
 Hometown: Provo, Utah
 Position: opposite hitter

Photo by Whitnie Soelberg

Ben Patch began his volleyball career at BYU in 2011.

Height: 6-8
 Weight: 195
 Major: pre-business


Kills: 320

With a killer hand and a 6-foot-8-inch frame, Benjamin Patch fits the perfect mold for an opposite hitter on BYU's volleyball team — and for a potter.

Points: 371 Digs: 93 Attack percentage: .307


Video by Julianne Horsley

“People don't believe me at all because what 6'8" athlete or any athlete does ceramics here? Not that many,” said Patch, a freshman who is pre-business. "People think that I don't even get my hands dirty but I love it." The tall Provo native's love for ceramics came even before volleyball crossed his mind when he signed up for his first pottery class in eighth grade. “I was planning on going to BYU first for pottery," Patch said. "I had a portfolio and everything." According to Sara Phillips, Patch's ceramics teacher at Provo High School, he was not always that tall, but she always saw Photos by Julianne Horsley


Patch as a talented artist. When he had a growth spurt toward the end of his senior year, the visual arts department had to make some adjustments. "Because he was growing so fast, we had to keep changing the wheel," Phillips said. "We would have to put the wheel up on bricks or adjust his chair. He started on the regular wheel like everyone else. But by the end, he had a wheel and chair specific to him because we had to lift everything up and adjust it to him." However, class time didn't seem to be enough for the yearning artist. Phillips said Patch would come in extra hours, skip his lunch break, watch the older students and ask lots of questions. Long nights in the studio and years of mastering how to wedge and center on the wheel earned him several national awards — including one for $300. "It's great to see that someone else recognizes your hard work and effort that took weeks and long nights," Patch said. Although he has plenty of happy memories throwing on the wheel and winning national competitions, Patch also has plenty of nightmarish and crisis moments that he can remember too. One time he created a four-foot-tall ceramic pot for a Springville art exhibit, only to have it collapse on itself just a week before the show. “I was really stressed and I was in the studio all night remaking multiple pieces of the same size to try to have a couple extras in case it happened again,� said Patch, shaking his head.

Photo by Whitnie Soelberg


Photos by Whitnie Soelberg

Patch said he finds harmony between his sport and hobby. “You need good angles. It takes a lot of diligent work and focus in order to become good at it. In volleyball, you have to master each skill and refine it. You do the same in pottery.�

ics," Phillips said. "When you're athletic, you have a lot of dexterity. You do know how to see things and move." So when he's not on volleyball court in the Smith Fieldhouse, Patch just might be busy refining at the wheel in the ceramics studio.

Even Phillips agrees that harmony exists between the two. "I think athletes do really well in something physical like ceram28

Afterword This project was created in Communincations 487, a capstone class for BYU journalism students, under the direction of Professor Quint Randle. Find more current news about BYU athletics at Copyright © 2013 by The Universe, a student-run newspaper at Brigham Young University. All rights reserved. Published in the United States by The Universe.

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She is earning a bachelor’s degree in communications and receiving two minors: German and editing. She loves BYU sports and is the digital editor of The Universe.

A senior at Brigham Young University, Jamie is majoring in communications with an emphasis in print journalism. She’s originally from Queen Creek, Ariz.



Raised in Elko, Nev., she’s a senior graduating from BYU in April 2013 in communications, journalism emphasis with minors in editing and history.

She is a senior from North Salt Lake, Utah studying Communications with an emphasis in broadcast journalism. She is currently an anchor for KBYUElevenNEWS. She also reports for and hosts BYU Weekly.


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