Athlete Profile: KC Boen

by: PHIL HAWKINS - A three-sport athlete, Kennedy senior KC Boen is set to finish her high school athletic career with the Trojans softball team this spring.As the winter basketball season quickly transitioned to spring practice in March, Kennedy senior KC Boen was ready.

Despite being an all-conference selection while helping the Trojans basketball team advance to the postseason, the senior was also taking pitching lessons on the side once a week, getting ready to hit the ground running once she was able to trade in her high tops for softball cleats.

Kennedy had a one-week transition period between seasons, but if Boen had her way, the switch would be immediate.

“I think I’d prefer not to have a whole week off because you get lazy,” she said. “You get kind of used to not doing anything.”

Boen is anything but lazy, dedicating her time after school to volleyball, basketball and softball, where she has garnered all-conference honors in each sport.

On the softball team, she is one of five seniors – joining teammates Emily Schmidt, Madison Caldwell, Phoebe Hill and Jenna Bochsler – who are nearing the end of their high school careers and have never qualified for the state playoffs.

The Trojans were one game away from qualifying for state last year, losing 5-4 to league rival Regis in a one-game playoffs that kept Kennedy from the postseason for the third consecutive year.

The loss came after Kennedy beat the Rams 9-8 in 11 innings to forge a tie for third place in conference at the end of the season. With only three postseason berths available to the Tri-River Conference, the two teams were forced into a one-game playoff. The loss was devastating enough, but having it come at the hands of the Trojans’ biggest rivals added salt to the wound.

“(It irks me) a little bit, especially since it’s Regis,” she said. “I hate them throughout all three sports. … That’s our biggest rival. Softball — there’s a couple other teams that are pretty good. Perrydale was good last year. Western Mennonite is good, but most of all, throughout everything, Regis is probably our No. 1 rival.”

The team started last season with a 10-3 record before losing four of their next five games to nearly slip out of playoff contention. The memory of the mid-season slump and getting eliminated by Regis weighs on Boen and fuels her as the Trojans prepare to jump into the conference schedule next week.

“Last year I started pitching really strong, and then it kind of fell apart for me at the end of the year,” she said. “For me to have to go into Regis and not have my best game, that was really hard on me.”

As the team’s starting pitcher, Boen has the biggest impact on where the team goes this season, and the senior embraces the role of leading the team to the state tournament for the first time since she was in middle school.

“It’s kind of scary, but I like the pressure knowing I have to get it done,” said Boen. “I feel that’s what pushes me to do it.”

Boen has been a member of the varsity team since her freshman year in 2011, when the team finished sixth in conference and missed the playoffs after advancing to the state semifinals the prior year.

She played a small role as a backup pitcher and slowly grew into the team’s primary option on the mound.

Boen took up the position in eighth grade, partly due to encouragement from coaches, but also with some inspiration from her parents.

by: PHIL HAWKINS - Kennedy senior KC Boen admits her favorite sport is basketball, where she earned Third Team All-Conference honors this year. 'I just love the game,' she said. 'I love everything about it.'“My parents love pitching,” she said. “They love the game of softball, and that’s kind of where I landed.”

As an underclassman, Boen played some second base when she wasn’t pitching and was nervous when called to the mound.

“The moment when (the coaches) had to put me in as pitcher as a freshman or sophomore, that’s when it got terrifying, because I had no idea what it was like,” she said. As Boen grew more accustomed to the role, she began to embrace the pressure and enjoy dictating the play of the game.

“It’s where I’m more comfortable,” she said.

Boen has lived in Mount Angel most of her life, having moved there from Woodburn when she was 2. Growing up in a small town has its advantages and disadvantages, but one of the biggest assets is that she has been able to grow up with her teammates for years.

“That benefits us a lot,” said Boen. “I’ve been playing with all the seniors since I was in tee-ball, so it just makes it that much more fun.”

That chemistry translates to the field, where the team has been steadily growing for the past three season. The Trojans won just three games her sophomore year before transitioning to last year’s team that finished 14-9 overall. With an experience-heavy team taking the field this year, Kennedy is prepared to make a deep playoff run.

The team has won four of its first five games, outscoring opponents by an average of 11.6 runs per game thus far.

“Playoffs are probably my biggest goal for this year,” she said. “We may be short on numbers, we may not be the biggest team out there or the scariest, but when we play together, it’s amazing. We just have to have everyone play to their potential.”

While Boen is playing softball in the moment now, in two months, the season will be over and it will be time for her to part ways with Kennedy and Mount Angel. She won’t be gone far, though. Boen applied to and was accepted by Western Oregon University in Monmouth, where she hopes to pursue education in criminal law.

“I kind of want to go into law enforcement and criminal justice after graduation. I know they have a big program there, so that’s exactly what I want to go into,” she said. “Western just kind of clung to me because some of my friends who graduated two years ago go there. When I went to visit them, I just liked the campus and liked the area. I know a lot of people who are going there, so that’s comforting.”

As for the Trojans’ softball team, the loss of five seniors — as well as two exchange students — will leave the team low on numbers once again for 2015, but Boen doesn’t worry.

“Apparently, there’s a really good eighth-grade team,” she said. “They have a lot of athletes, but it might be short on girls again. It might be the Kennedy Nine once again.”

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