Lone Peak High Baseball Players Preparing for Missions
Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
- Nine of the graduating seniors on the Lone Peak High School baseball team have put their dreams of college ball on hold to serve missions.
- They will be leaving in the coming months to share the gospel in nations across the globe.
- The mission calls have brought the boys together.
“We all get together when someone is opening up their mission call.” —Michael Lee, third baseman of Lone Peak High School baseball team
These are busy days for members of the Lone Peak High School baseball team.
The Utah state baseball tournament is ongoing and, for several Knight players, occurs at the same time as end-of-year advanced placement tests and other important exams.
Meanwhile, the team’s many 12th graders are likely battling “senioritis.” They’re looking forward to graduation and bidding farewell to high school.
But for nine of the senior ballplayers, this is also a time for serious, even sacred, preparation. Each of those players has received mission calls and will be leaving their Utah homes in the coming months to share the gospel in nations across the globe.
“We don’t have a lot of extra time—but we’re all excited,” said Connor Boyd, the team’s designated hitter who has a call to serve a mission in Tahiti.
The list of Lone Peak players with mission destinations in hand reads like a batting lineup: Avery Goekeritz, Mexico; his brother Brooks Goekeritz, California; their other brother Chandler Goekeritz, Texas; Michael Evans, Germany; Stephen Burraston, Armenia; Tate Hansen, Panama; Matt Lee, Argentina; and RJ Hazen, Uganda.
Having a team of mission-bound athletes is not unique to Lone Peak. Thanks to the Churchwide policy change allowing 18-year-old males to serve missions, it’s quite common for high school seniors to receive their calls even as they compete in their spring sports and pursue other activities.
Choosing to serve a full-time mission is a big decision for any young man or young woman. In the case of the Lone Peak baseball players, several athletes have opted to place their dreams of playing college ball on hold so they can serve.
“These boys are champions on many levels,” commented Dave Boyd, a parent who has watched many of the Knights compete on the diamond together for more than a decade.
Brother Boyd said he would not be surprised to see a few other seniors on the team answer mission calls in the future.
Third baseman Michael Lee said the baseball team has grown close because so many of the athletes are preparing for missions even as they polished their skills and prepared for the state tournament.
“The mission calls have really brought us together,” he said. “We all get together when someone is opening up their mission call.”
The boys also support one another. They know that they are preparing for moments larger than this week’s big game. So they help one another stay in line and make good choices on and off the diamond.
Connor said the rigors of baseball help him and the other boys stay focused on their sport. Still, when the players have free time, the talk inevitably shifts to their upcoming Church duties.
“Missionary work,” he said, “always comes up.”