Athlete of the Week: Amy Senkerik

Amy Senkerik plans to attend ASU next year to study molecular bioscience and biotechnology with a minor in political science. (Amy Senkerik/Submitted)

Like many kids born in the second half of the first decade of the 21st century, it has been a rough athletic time for Ironwood Ridge senior guard Amy Senkerik.

Someday, she will probably tell her kids or grandkids about the season that lasted three years. Or the time where you had to “practice” separated from your teammates, not even being able to pass a ball back and forth for fear of passing along an infection.

Those days, thankfully, are in the recent past. Their lingering memory serves to make a return to normalcy that much sweeter.

This season, the Nighthawks are doing fine. At press time, they were 11-5 in the regular season and comfortably ensconced in the No. 15 spot in the Power Points. If they can hold onto that spot, they will get to host a first-round game in the playoffs. They close out the regular season with a road game at last-place Cholla and finish on Senkerik’s senior night with a home contest against first-place Catalina Foothills.

It will be the second straight year that the Nighthawks advanced to postseason play. For the self-professed perfectionist, that’s good, but not great. It is, however, certainly better than what came before it. Her freshman year, when she was not yet as tall as she is now, was a struggle. (Going back to the use of the word “tall,” it must be noted that the term is relative. She is officially listed as being 5-foot-3 but spoken out loud with her present will invariably elicit a snicker.)

“I really am 5-3!” she exclaimed, convincing absolutely no one. (Last year, on the MaxPreps website, they had her listed as 5-foot-5.)

Back to her freshman season, she was battling to earn playing time on the varsity, bouncing back and forth between that and the JV team. By her sophomore season, she was ready to take the reins of the varsity team, but there were basically no reins onto which to grab. Like teams all across the country, that season was all but wiped out by COVID-19. Because of strict pandemic protocols, Ironwood Ridge started that season late and ended it super early, going a sad 1-2 in games played.

Just to add insult to injury, she got COVID-19 the first week of the season.

It will be another couple years before the prep sports system is free from the aftereffects of that time. Next year’s seniors will have been freshmen during the 2020-21 season. And even last year, in 2021-22, there were dozens of last-second game cancellations, with players, coaches and refs having to be masked and regularly tested.

“Yeah, it was tough to go through, but we’re here now. We have a chance to make the most of it,” she said.

Next year, she plans on attending Arizona State University’s Barrett the Honors College, where she will study molecular bioscience and biotechnology with a minor in political science. At ASU, they’ll probably believe that she’s 5-foot-3.

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