Athlete of the Week: CF’s Yurachek a three-sport star

The most surprising thing about Ryan Yurachek being named the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week isn’t that he won it, but the sport in which he won it.

The Carolina Forest junior is a three-sport standout on the football field, baseball diamond and basketball court, where he earned the weekly honor. But hoops might not even be in his top two.

“I’ve played football, basketball and baseball my whole life, but football is my favorite,” said Yurachek, who plays tight end and linebacker for the Panthers in the fall. “I like them all, but basketball is sort of what I do to stay in shape for baseball season.”

If basketball is his third favorite sport, it’s hard to tell from his play on the hardwood. Yurachek averaged a double-double last week in a pair of games, including a 14-point, 10-rebound performance in a double overtime loss to rival Conway. The Panthers are just 4-13 so far on the season.

“It’s been a tough season for us because of our youth,” Yurachek said. “We lost our starting five from last season and graduated eight seniors off the team, so we have a lot of young guys coming up who have never played varsity before. There are only three of us with any experience before this season, but a lot of the young guys are starting to step up and we are playing together better lately.”

Despite a down year on the hardwood, Yurachek has been a key contributor for the Panthers in all three sports since transferring from Ohio as an eighth-grader when his father, Hunter Yurachek, was named athletics director at Coastal Carolina University.

“It was hard at first moving to a new school and not knowing anybody, but sports helped me make a lot of new friends and get comfortable,” Yurachek said. “It’s a great school for academics and athletics, and now it feels like home.”

Yurachek also has gotten a good foundation for a future in college sports thanks to his father’s job. Yurachek has spent a lot of time around college athletics at Ohio University and now at CCU – from the action on the sidelines to an inside-look at the locker rooms – for someone still in high school.

“I get to go to a lot of the games, go into the locker room after games, and you get to see a different side of it,” he said. “I really like it. I definitely want to play in college and maybe major in sports management. I’d like to do something like my dad.”

Yurachek faces some tough choices about where to go to school and which sport(s) to play. Fortunately for his football-first mentality, the vast majority of  interest is coming on the gridiron, where he will mostly likely take his talents.

“Football is where I’m getting the most recruitment. I’ve got a couple of offers, no big ones yet, but I still have another season,” Yuachek said. “Football has always been my favorite. I’ve just always had the size for it and liked the physical nature of it.”

Fortunately for the Panthers, Yurachek doesn’t have to settle on one sport for another year and a half.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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