Even though he enrolled at Patton High School in 2017 just before his junior year, Pierce Memmel had more highlights than a four-year athlete typically achieves.
Earning all-conference honors in soccer, football and lacrosse in his senior year — along with individual top honors in two of those sports — Memmel adds the honor of 2018-19 PHS male athlete of the year.
“None of this was an individual effort. I owe a lot of what I was able to do to my coaches and teammates,” said Memmel.
In soccer, Memmel set a new single-season record for goals scored (36), the fourth Panther in recent years to do so. His season was highlighted by seven hat tricks including one in his Panthers’ first-round state playoff win at East Henderson.
“Pierce has always been the hardest worker not only in games but in practice,” said Patton soccer coach Keith Scott, who also coached all three of Memmel’s older brothers.
“Pierce made an immediate contribution to a veteran team (in his first year at Patton) with his work rate and intensity. His love of the game and competition is what makes Pierce such a special player and leader because he had a classic lead-by-example attitude that others are inspired by.”
During soccer season, he also played multiple positions on the PHS football team, including kicker and punter in receiving the Northwestern Foothills 2A Conference specialist of the year award after averaging 42.5 yards per punt with 11 touchbacks on kickoffs.
He also set two school records the same night with a 51-yard field goal and 61-yard punt at Foard.
“Pierce was able to be a dominant force in the kicking game for us this year,” said Patton football coach Jonathan Browning. “He was able to set our defense up in great field position and put points on the board. He also gave us another weapon at the wide receiver and cornerback positions.”
Memmel collected 121 total offensive yards that included a touchdown run off a jet sweep versus McDowell and a 24-yard pass off a fake punt against Draughn. He recorded 20 tackles on defense in earning all-county second-team honors.
Memmel also made history on the lacrosse team, with 15 career games in two years scoring at least five goals including a career-high nine goals this spring versus both South Iredell and Hickory.
He totaled a school-record 64 goals this season to easily top his school-record 51-goal total as a junior and was named Conference 16 co-player of the year after adding 16 assists and a team-best 86 ground balls.
“All I hoped for was to make an impact on future Panthers, I just wanted to grow the game and make each team as successful as possible,” said Memmel.
His favorite memories this year were the Senior Night soccer game versus East Burke and scoring his first career touchdown along with the time spent with teammates.
As Memmel looks to attend Auburn University to study aerospace engineering and attempt to walk onto the football team as a kicker, he leaves these words of advice for his younger teammates and future Patton athletes.
“Don’t play for yourself or to break records,” he said. “Play for the people around you, because it could be their last time ever playing.”
Jason Baker can be reached at email@example.com.