SCHOLAR ATHLETE: Griner leads by example at Monahans

When Taryn Griner has free time, she likes to unwind by watching TV. It was just a matter of when she actually had free time considering all the activities she was involved in at Monahans.

Griner was in the school’s National Honor Society, served as the Student Council Treasurer and earned many awards for her academic accomplishments.

She balanced that while being a multi-sport athlete, competing in volleyball, swimming, basketball and softball.

Griner made things work in high school by scheduling her most important meetings on her days away from practices.

“I was practically busy all week, but it was a really good feeling to be part of it,” she said.

Griner was described by Monahans girls golf coach Courtney Rutledge as the ultimate Lady Lobo. She got a firsthand look at how Griner would process her class work as one of her math teachers. Griner said that math was her favorite subject.

“In the classroom, she’s just phenomenal,” Rutledge said. “You can show her one example of something and she can just go. She needs no help and she’ll just take off.”

Griner’s ability to master class work and her athletic schedule paid off, as she’s set to finish fourth in her graduating class.

She also earned an opportunity to continue her athletic career after signing with Sul Ross State University last December to play volleyball and softball.

Griner plans on studying criminal justice and said her interest in the subject stemmed from watching YouTube videos and documentaries on true crime.

She reached out to other universities before ultimately deciding to attend Sul Ross, saying that in contact with head softball and volleyball coach Troy Canaba helped solidify her decision.

Rutledge believes Griner can maintain her balancing ability at the next level.

“It’s a different world. You’re practicing probably three times as much in college than you are in high school. You don’t have as much time as you think you should,” she said. “If anyone can do it, this kid is one that can do it.”

Monahans’ Abby Inman (11) and Taryn Griner (10) attempt to block a hit from Permian’s Nyxalee Munoz during a match Sept. 15, 2020 at the Permian Fieldhouse.

With her high school career winding down, Griner reminisced on her favorite memory as a Lady Lobo.

One of her top moments was a recent one where she made important plays to help the Monahans softball team secure an area round series victory over Canyon.

The Lady Loboes trailed 19-18 in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 1 with two outs as Griner went up to bat. She proceeded to hit a triple to right field and drove in two runs to win the game.

Monahans went on to win that series and the regional quarterfinal series against Sweetwater the following weekend.

The Lady Loboes face Argyle in a three-game regional semifinal series beginning Friday at Abilene Cooper.

Griner was proud to be the player her team trusted to get the job done late.

She knows making transition from high school to college can be a difficult one, so she’ll make sure she isn’t putting too much pressure on herself.

The former All-State volleyball selection wants to secure a good career by maintaining high grades in college.

She’s off to a good start by already completing 42 hours of college coursework.

Rutledge, who also coaches the freshman volleyball team at Monahans, said Griner’s ability to relate to young athletes at the school stands out. She treats every athlete with respect and helps them along the way.

“She sets a great example for those little kids,” Rutledge said.

It was only natural that she made the biggest impact on Rutledge, who has been with the athlete every step of the way since the eighth grade.

“Whatever she decides to do, she’s going to rock it,” she said.

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