Triple threat: Tempels closing in on end of illustrious careers at GCHS.
By BRETT MARSHALL
By BRETT MARSHALL
It's a windy and warm Friday afternoon, and the final hour of classes at Garden City High School.
Three seniors, all members of the GCHS track team, gather before classes are dismissed and track practice begins.
They are in the middle of their senior, and final season, as multi-sport athletes for the Buffaloes.
In this instance, the three are not your typical student-athletes.
They are the Tempels, triplets specifically, with one girl, Taryn, and two boys, Dusty and Greyson, comprising this distinct group that will soon see their high school careers come to a close and then prepare for their next life experiences.
To be sure, it may likely be that never again will there be seen a set of triplets competing, and excelling, in various sports for the Buffaloes.
In their own special way, the three have left an indelible mark on the athletic programs at GCHS.
Taryn, a three-sport standout in volleyball, basketball and track and field, finished her senior basketball season as the school's all-time leading scorer, surpassing the 1,000-point mark down the stretch of her final season. She has been a state contender in the triple jump, long jump and runs on two Lady Buffs' relay teams. When the spring track season curtain comes down the final weekend of May, she will have earned 12 varsity letters.
Dusty and Greyson have been two-sport standouts, specializing in football in the fall and then moving over to the spring track season.
Dusty, a wide receiver/defensive back/kick returner in football, owns two school receiving records (most catches, most yards) after stellar junior and senior seasons on the gridiron. He also is the owner of the Class 6A 2013 state long jump championship. He, too, has been a part of state-caliber relay teams.
Greyson, who was the Buffs' starting quarterback his final two seasons, set a plethora of passing, and running, records during his career. With video-game type numbers his senior season, Greyson leaves GCHS as the school's all-time leader in pass completions, passing touchdowns and total touchdowns. He ranks second on the all-time list for passing yards and third in rushing yards. With sprinter speed, Greyson has his eyes set on the state 100-meter event, in which he hopes to close out his successful prep career on a high note.
And what about the future for these three siblings, similar in so many ways, and yet different in others?
Greyson is headed to Pittsburg State University, where he plans to red-shirt his freshman year in football with the hopes of competing for the quarterback job for one of the top NCAA Division II programs in the country. Dusty has chosen to stay close to home, where he will play football for the Garden City Community College Broncbusters in the fall, and then compete in track next spring. Taryn has accepted an invitation to walk on at the University of Kansas and spend time developing her triple jump skills in hopes of earning a scholarship in her second year at KU.
So while the trio of talented athletes have been intertwined so closely for all of their lives, they will now be doing their own thing after high school.
"It's been a great experience, and I've gotten to compete a lot and I compete all year round," Taryn said in a recent interview with the triplets. "I'm never bored. Each sport is different. I'm sure I'm gonna miss all three in college."
Having the opportunity to grow up playing sports with her brothers has only made her that much better, Taryn says.
"The first sport I wanted to play was football, but I didn't understand that girls weren't supposed to play football," says Taryn with a smile. "I wanted to do everything they did. My dad said no. My mom said it was OK. I was the water girl. Watching them play football is some of my greatest memories throughout my life and in high school."
For Dusty, the ability to share a high school career with siblings is something that he will never forget.
"It's definitely helped a lot. There's always two people I can go and play sports with that love it just as much as I do," Dusty says. "I think it's really cool when we go to track meets and stuff. Everyone comes up to us and ask us, 'Are you guys triplets?' I thought that was cool. It's just something unique about us and I like that."
Greyson said it had been a big help to have your own brother being on the receiving end of many of his football passes the final two years of high school.
"It was definitely an advantage having one of your best receivers at the house," Greyson says. "It's been great having him and being able to throw to him. I'll miss him, and it was fun. We always talked about our opponents, watched a lot of film."
Dusty and Greyson comprise the final two legs of the Buffs' 4x100-meter relay team in which they hope to improve on a fifth-place finish at state in 2013.
"It's been pretty cool having your brother to hand-off to in the 4x1," Dusty says. "It feels natural. He's (Greyson) fast as well, and that's a good feeling. It's nice having someone who's going to compete."
All three agree that playing multiple sports has helped them both on the competitive side, as well as improving their physical skills.
"More than anything, it helps you with other sports," Greyson says. "You just need to go out and compete. I think the last thing we want to do as a Buffalo is to give it our all, and hopefully we can make an impact at state (track)."
Both Dusty and Taryn say it is difficult to put into words the impact they, and their senior teammates, have had on the successful run of sports at GCHS during their four years.
"When we were in middle school, we knew we were going to have a really good class," Dusty says. "We saw all these other good classes before us and not be successful. We wanted to be different — we wanted to make it like our class set a standard."
Taryn agrees with Dusty.
"A lot of it is that we've had great coaching here," Taryn says. "We've got a very strong class of athletes. I think that our goal has been to make success an expectation. And you've got to work hard, and we've got hard-working people around here. We knew it wouldn't come easy. I think all three of us have played (important) parts of the teams we've been a part of. I think that growing up with two people who are competitive, that just makes you that much more competitive."
And Greyson added, "It's been a change of culture (winning). The new high school has been a big help. The new weight room. I feel like we're (senior class) setting the standard a lot higher. We want to win. Winning is the cool thing. The change in culture has been the main part the last four years."
The triplets also give plenty of credit to their parents — Bob and Kristi — for the support provided to them as they've grown from 6-year-olds playing sandlot football, to competing at a high level in prep sports.
"Anyone who knows our dad, knows that he is a very motivational person," Taryn says. "He sends us text messages before every event. Our mom is the same way. They've both made the effort to go to all our events. It's a family affair. Sports has been a huge part of our lives. It would be weird to define us as something else."
For Dusty, the parent impact also has been significant.
"With Dad, it's that you never quit, even when you're just terrible," Dusty says. "He always says you can get better. How hard do you wanna work?"
And Greyson relates the impact that their mother has made on the trio.
"She is the more fiery person," Greyson says. "She brings a more competitive edge. That's where we get that competitiveness."
When asked if all three just so happened to be on the same team, who would be elected captain?
"If I could have played football, I would be," Taryn said with a big grin. "I'd be the team captain. I keep them in order."
And to nobody's surprise, the two brothers ganged up on their sister in this dialogue.
"It would be Greyson because he's the quarterback," Dusty says. "He runs everything. He is the most motivated."
Greyson cast a vote for himself in this matter as well.
"I'd have to say myself. I would make the decisions," Greyson says. "Taryn doesn't make the decisions."
But when it came time to say which of the three was the best athlete, each of them took the high road.
"That's the million dollar question that we've been asked a million times throughout our high school and middle school career," Taryn says. "Really, it's equal. You can't really define us. We've all excelled in different things, different sports. It's really hard to say. We've all been very lucky to have successful careers."
Dusty chimes in, "Honestly, we're all better at different things. He's (Greyson) better than me in some things. She's (Taryn) better in some things. We all have our own thing that we're a lot better than each other at. You can't label who's the better athlete."
And Greyson adds, "We all have our different strengths. Dusty's a good jumper, Taryn's very good in volleyball and basketball, as well as track. It's hard to say who's the best athlete."
Each has their own highlight from their four years of competing for the Buffs. For Greyson, it was the 2013 football season in which the Buffs reached the Class 6A semifinals before losing to eventual champion Derby. It was the best finish for a Buffs' team since 1999, when GCHS won the state title. For Dusty, it was the singular moment of capturing the state long jump title last May in Wichita. And for Taryn?
Taryn concluded the discussion with perhaps some prophetic words, along with expectations.
"This year, the football season was great," she says. "But my favorite memory in high school sports is yet to come. So stay tuned."
It was then time for track practice. The Tempel legacy still has a few weeks remaining to be complete.