Athletes of the Month: Marilyn Ann Comack & Bridget Rieken
Marilyn Ann Comack
Coeur d’Alene High School
Marilyn Comack, who most people call Mary, just finished her sophomore year at Coeur d’Alene High School. She is passionate about the game of softball, a sport she has been around her entire life.
“Everyone in my family plays sports, and watching all of my older siblings since I was younger has made me want it even more,” said Mary, who currently plays for USA Explosion U18 Gold during the summer and fall; a team she calls her second family.
Mary has played varsity softball both her freshman and sophomore years and said she loves her teammates and is proud of the progress they have made.
When it comes to college, Mary said the University of Washington is at the top of her list. “I’ll definitely be playing softball no matter where I’ll go. I couldn’t imagine not having it in my life, so I’ll definitely push to have it that much longer.”
She hopes one day to become an architect, a field that is a perfect blend of the things she loves which are designing, drawing and math.
Mary said one of her challenges through her athletic career has been her size. “I was constantly told that I was too small to play.” But she looked to her parents for encouragement. “They told me I could do anything, be anything I want to be as long as I work hard for it,” she said, adding that it was her own fears that were primarily holding her back. “I could not have come this far without my teammates, coaches, family and friends.”
Softball has taught Mary that one can never stop learning or bettering oneself. “The moment you stop improving is the moment it stops being fun,” said Mary. “If it’s not fun, then you shouldn’t do it anymore. My dad taught me that one, as well as my mom, sisters and brother.”
Lake City High School
For Bridget Rieken, who will be entering her senior year at Lake City High School in the fall, it is not enough to excel in sports. Her goal is to do her best in the classroom as well. She has a 4.0 GPA and was recently recognized for being in the top 10 percent of her class.
Bridget has received her varsity letter in soccer, basketball and track all three years of high school. She was also named Inland Empire League (IEL) Newcomer of the Year for soccer her freshman year and IEL First Team multiple times for both basketball and soccer as well as IEL Soccer MVP her junior year. She is a Region IV (encompassing 14 western states) Olympic Development (ODP) Championship All Star and has played for many years on the Idaho ODP team and has been a national invitee for two years.
During her sophomore year, she verbally committed to play soccer at Washington State University where she plans to study sports nutrition or sports management.
Her biggest challenge has been the travel involved when earning opportunities to play throughout the country. But she fought hard to get in front of the coaches who could help her fulfill her passion.
“My parents and all my extended soccer family in many cities have made opportunities outside of North Idaho possible. All of my local North Idaho sports have set an amazing foundation, but I desired more,” said Bridget.
She credits her Lake City High School track coach, Coach Reed, with being an amazing mentor. “He is always able to give great perspective to a situation and encourage me. He always reminds me that ‘when things get hard, that’s OK, that’s what makes you a better person, a better athlete.’”