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Rylan Crowther, Cade Johnson earn Academic All-State awards

Mar 30, 2023 08:37AM ● By Liisa London Mecham

Cade Johnson, athlete, scholar and student body president, was named to the 3A Academic All-State Boys’ Basketball Team. Photo by Studio One Images

Ryland Crowther, a wrestler in the 150 pound weight class, and Cade Johnson, a shooting guard on the basketball team, recently earned 3A Academic All-State honors in their respective sports. Both young men carry a 4.0 GPA and have worked hard for four years to balance the demands of their athletic and academic endeavors. The award came as a surprise, a “good surprise,” to both young men who were pursuing academic excellence and athletic achievement to fulfill personal goals. 

“I had no idea what it was,” Crowther said. “It’s exciting to win it, especially since wrestlers usually aren't in a crowd to have high academics.” Nine other wrestlers from eight other schools (Richfield had three winners) joined Crowther on the Boys’ Wrestling Academic All-State team where a 4.0 or a 3.9 with a very high ACT score is the academic requirement.

Johnson was also joined by nine other basketball players representing nine different 3A schools to comprise the 3A Boys’ Basketball Academic All-State team. They, too, all had 4.0 GPAs or the equivalent with ACT score and GPA. Both young men represented Morgan well in their sport and academically.

Crowther, who is the son of Reeni and Lance Crowther, overcame three knee surgeries during his four years wrestling at Morgan High. As a sophomore, he had his meniscus in his knee re-stitched after it tore due to wrestling, and then he endured a six month recuperation process. His junior year, Crowther returned to the mat, but during Christmas break he had to have his meniscus clipped in a second surgery. He was able to rehab and return for the end of the season tournaments and finished 3rd at divisionals and 5th at state at 144 pounds in 2022. During his senior year, Crowther re-tore his meniscus, but he finished out the season on a hurt knee, once more placing 3rd at divisionals at 150 pounds. After the season, he had one final surgery to clip the re-torn portion. Crowther is healing quickly, but sad that he may miss the epic snow of 2023 while his knee heals.

Crowther sacrificed a lot to wrestle, but he loves the competition. “There is no one else to help you in a match. You are on the mat by yourself, and it’s up to you and how hard you’ve worked to prepare to determine who wins.”

Crowther, who will leave June 19 to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Monterey West Mexico Mission, understands the necessity to prepare to win. He works hard to balance schoolwork and wrestling. “I only do school and wrestling during the season,” he explained. “I have to make sure I cut out everything else–hanging out, skiing and snowmobiling–and just focus on school and wrestling.”

“With two practices a day and lots of tournaments on the weekends for wrestling, I really didn’t have time for anything else, so I had to stay focused,” he said.

Crowther is enrolled in the early college program at Weber State, and takes AP Calculus and several other concurrent enrollment courses. If all goes according to plan, he will have his associate’s degree by the time he graduates. “I think I might want to go into dentistry like my dad and brother, but I might do something else in the medical field like a surgeon,” he said.

“To be a successful student-athlete, you have to be ready to put in the time for both,” Crowther said. “You have to set aside all other things besides your sport and schoolwork because there is no time in season.”

 Johnson, who is the son of Randi and Koby Johnson, echoes Crowther’s words about balance between academics and athletics. “I don’t even know how I keep up with everything,” he said. “You have to take time for each thing and put it into a schedule. You have to do the basic things like attend class and turn in your assignments on the due dates, but you have to be disciplined and not procrastinate.”

“If you care enough about both academics and athletics, you can succeed at both,” he said.

Johnson played all four years of high school for the Trojans; through basketball he learned the value of perseverance, hard work and patience “even when things don’t go the way you thought they would go.” One of his favorite basketball memories was the Grantsville game last year at home when Gavin Turner “banked it in at the buzzer for the win, and the team all ran out and tackled him. The student section was going crazy. It was so great!”

Great memories from high school are something that Johnson treasures, and he also works to create them for the MHS student body. In addition to his skills on the court and in the classroom, he leads the school as the Student Body President. “I love to be involved and coordinate and plan activities. I would tell everyone, if they want to enjoy high school, to find something they love and get involved. Find your passion and have a good reason to be involved. Let it motivate you.”

Before high school started, Johnson set a goal to graduate with a 4.0. He has worked hard to achieve this goal, and he doesn’t shy away from a challenge. As a junior, he took his hardest class in high school: AP Language with Gwen Romero. “It was stressful and pushed me to the limits, but I feel that I grew the most in her class. I’m so grateful for the things I learned.”

Johnson shared that he learned his work ethic from his dad. “My dad is one of the hardest workers I know. He taught me to be mentally tough and successful in anything I do.”

Johnson’s next challenge after year-end event planning and graduation will be a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints beginning July 10 in the Kentucky Louisville Mission. He plans to attend BYU upon completion of his missionary service.

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