A rare opportunity

Lyndsey Ryba to play basketball, softball at Concordia

Courtesy Photos Lyndsey Ryba will be continuing her athletic career at the collegiate level. Ryba will play both basketball and softball at Concordia University during the 2018-2019 season. Ryba will continue her senior year playing both sports for Hillman High School this upcoming season.

The recruiting process can be exciting, stressful and challenging all at the same time for high school athletes. Being able to continue an athletic career and play a sport in college is a special opportunity that kids work hard for growing up. Playing two sports in college is even more challenging than getting the chance to compete in one. For Lyndsey Ryba, she is one of the rare and elite athletes that will be continuing her athletic career at the collegiate level.

After an athletic career that included a few twists and turns along with a recruiting process that was just as eventful, Ryba made her final decision in September to continue her athletic career at Concordia University when she was recruited and given the opportunity to compete in both basketball and softball for the Cardinals.

“I am beyond exited to have this opportunity to play both basketball and softball at the collegiate level. I have always loved both basketball and softball. I’ve always had a hard time deciding between the two,” Ryba said. “When I was presented the opportunity to play both, I immediately took it into consideration. It’s definitely something that I’ve worked hard for over the years, so it means a great deal to me.”

Ryba was originally from Hillman, but spent a majority of her life growing up in Marquette. Her sports career took off as a Redette during high school playing at a class A school against other top competition.

Ryba was a key part of Marquette’s strong basketball and softball teams during her freshman and sophomore year.

After beginning her high school career in the city she grew up in, Ryba and her family moved backed to Hillman before the start of her junior year and has continued to grow as an an athlete and has been an important part of the Tigers athletic program. Over the past two years, Ryba proudly wears the orange and black on the volleyball and basketball court, along with the softball diamond.

She was a key member of a volleyball team that won the North Star League Little Dipper division championship in volleyball just a few weeks ago. Ryba also helped continue the winning tradition of the Hillman girls basketball team, as she was an important piece to the Tigers district title team last year and helped the softball team finish the year ranked inside the top 10 in the state.

“The transition from going to a Class A school to a class D school wasn’t difficult since I had lived in Hillman before,” Ryba said. “Both schools have strong basketball and softball programs so it was reassuring knowing that I didn’t have to worry about going into a weak program.”

Ryba has spent her offseasons playing on AAU and summer league teams in both sports for a handful of a coaches and teams. Ryba was recognized by a handful of colleges early on in her high school career and before September, Ryba verbally committed to play softball at Ferris State University, but those plans fell through as she became highly interested in Concordia.

“The recruiting process for me was somewhat stressful. With the help of Christin Sobeck and Brian Chidester, the process was made a lot easier for me. They sent out videos and got in contact with some colleges and made arrangements for the Concordia coaches to watch me play and get recruited by them and I really appreciated that,” Ryba said. “The more research I did on the school and the sports programs, the more I fell in love with Concordia. I decided to go visit the school and tour the campus to see what life was like down in Ann Arbor. After my visit, I knew Concordia was the place for me.”

As excited as Ryba is about Concordia and to begin her Cardinal career next winter, the program is just as thrilled to bring in an athlete like her.

On the court, Ryba will come in and play a guard position and on the diamond, Ryba will continue to chase down balls in the outfield, along with being a speedy presence in the lineup.

“Lyndsey is a fantastic athlete. It really says a lot about her to have the drive to be a two sport athlete in college, because it’s not easy to do,” Concordia women’s basketball coach Thad Sankey said. “More importantly she is a good student along with being a unique athlete that has a ton of athleticism. We’re excited about Lyndsey. She’s going to be a great addition to our program.”

With the 2017-2018 basketball season right around the corner and softball season in the spring, Ryba is relieved knowing that she will be continuing her athletic career after her senior year is complete, but she is still focused and determined to finish her high school career strong and star on the court and diamond for Hillman in the coming seasons.

“Since this is my last year for high school sports, it is a relief knowing that I can still continue to play the two sports that I love at the next level. Knowing that I will be playing at the collegiate level after high school definitely takes some of the last year of high school sports pressure off,” Ryba said. “It also motivates me to become a better athlete so I can continue the success I’ve had in my high school career, into my college career.”

Ryba will officially sign her National Letter of Intent on Monday, November 27, at 12:30 p.m. in the Hillman High School library.

“I would like to thank my parents for all of the time, effort, money and support they have invested in me. I would not have been able to do any of this without their support,” Ryba said. “I would also like to thank Christin Sobeck for everything she has done for me, my previous basketball coaches from Marquette, Richard Ledy, Paul Seibert and Ben Smith. They made me into the player that I am today and I am incredibly grateful for that. Lastly, I would like to thank my current basketball coach John Kuzewski for coaching me in my last two years of high school basketball and helping me get recruited by Concordia.”