No. 17 is all-around athlete

By Joseph Garcia

Jadon Durity-Boatright goes airborne in last week’s District Meet in which he won gold medals in the triple and long jumps. (www.ThunderstruckPhotos.com)

During any given boys varsity sporting event, you are likely to see a purple and gold No. 17 uniform, making an impact for the Liberty Hill Panthers.

Since the begining of football season in the fall, Liberty Hill junior Jadon Durity-Boatright has been a busy young man, participating in four varsity sports in the 2011-2012 school year.

For football, he plays on offense as a receiver, which is mainly a blocker in the Slot-T, on defense he is a cornerback and he kicks, returns kickoffs and punts on special teams for Coach Jerry Vance.

Durity-Boatright, in his third year at Liberty Hill High School, was named to the All-District First-Team Defense, First-Team Special Teams and also received Second-Team kicker honors.

Once football season was over, he contributed to the basketball team’s success appearing in over 10 games for Coach Barry Boren, leading the team in scoring once with a 21-point performance in a 95-42 victory over Cameron Yoe.

His focus then switched to offseason football conditioning before the start of the track and field and baseball seasons. And over the last few weeks, Durity-Boatright may be working harder than anyone in Liberty Hill.

Along with academics, he is currently balancing track and field, in which he participates in the long jump, triple jump and a few races with baseball, in which he plays centerfield. He said it’s a lot of work, but is fun as well and that his coaches understand when it comes to his often-arduous schedule.

“They are very understanding,” Durity-Boatright said. “But it’s a little hard because I have to go to track practice and then when that’s over I have to go to baseball practice. Then sometimes there will be a track meet on a day with a baseball game. So, I will just do a couple of events then go over to the baseball game and do that. So, sometimes they get in the way of each other. It’s a lot of work

because I am always missing some school because of games or something. But it’s a lot of fun, too.”

Both his track coach, Jimmy Duncan, and baseball coach, Mike Kristan, have shared athletes for years during the spring. They said Durity-Boatright is a special talent they are happy to have participate in their respective sports.

A regional qualifier in the triple jump last year, Durity-Boatright recently claimed the 2012 25-3A District title for the long jump and triple jump last week in Lampasas, sending him to regionals once again.

He’s also been one of the major contributors in the baseball team’s success, scoring seven of the Panthers’ last 23 runs these last three games. He’s also coming off a three-hit game against Llano.

“Jadon brings a lot to the table for us with his speed and daring on the bases and in the outfield Jadon has great range and an above-average arm,” said Liberty Hill baseball coach Mike Kristan, who added that Durity-Boatright’s been on fire recently. “Coach (Jimmy) Duncan and I have always had to share athletes and we have learned how to do that over the years. Spring sports coaches in Liberty Hill have always found ways to share athletes; we also share some of the athletes with UIL academic. It is what we try to do to help all teams, athletically and academically.”

Coach Duncan, also Durity-Boatright’s position coach in football, shared similar sentiments about the junior who spent a year in Marble Falls before moving to Burnet and eventually Liberty Hill.

Duncan said he and Coach Kristan have always shared athletes back and forth and at times. He said it is very confusing keeping up with the different schedules at times, but they always seem to manage.

“I am sure we have a unique working relationship that is not shared at many other schools,” he said. “Without it, I am sure both our teams would suffer. At the 3A level we fully expect athletes to compete in multiple sports. Our athletes strive to better the team through their individual performances.”

As for Durity-Boatright’s performance in track and field, Duncan said his strong suit is obvious.

“Jadon’s strengths are in the horizontal jumps,” said Coach Duncan. “He is practicing hard and improving each time out. I believe (Jadon) is starting to see what his full potential could be and is matching that view with his work ethic.”

It is that work ethic that Durity-Boatright is using for his future plans that include an appearance at the State Meet, a long run in baseball and a strong football season that will hopefully land him scholarship offers.

Durity-Boatright, an athlete since playing soccer at the age of four, said this year in the offseason, or new season, which is what Coach Vance calls it, has helped a lot when it comes to the long and triple jumps.

“I’m jumping a lot farther,” he said. “Hopefully, I will make it to State this year. And for baseball, we’re feeling pretty confident about us going a long way. We have good chemistry, we all are communicating well and everybody is doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”

Football season is still over four months away. But Durity-Boatright, who said he likes football best because you get to hit people, could use all the time in between to keep improving physically and mentally with the help of Coach Vance.

“I didn’t start playing football until my sophomore year, so not that long,” Durity-Boatright said. “I am still learning new things every day. (Coach Vance) has been a huge influence on me in getting good grades and putting academics before football; but also helping me get bigger and stronger.”