Garretson never took a leave of absence and excelled in all three sports his senior season

NOTE: This is the sixth of ten episodes recognizing each of the five finalists for the York News-Times Male and Female Athletes of the Year. Over the next two weeks, each of the five girls and five boys chosen as the top five athletes in the region will compete once. The York News-Times Male and Female Athlete Awards ceremony will take place later in June.







Garretson Track

Over the course of the 2024 track and field season, McCool Junction senior Ryland Garretson dominated the area sprints as he finished as the leader in both the 100 and 200 meters and placed second in the 400. He won silver in the 200 meters at the state and cross-country meet. bronze in the 100 meters. He led the Mustangs as the anchor leg of both the 4×100 and 4×400 State Championship relays.


Ken Kus



MCCOOL JCT. -Whether it was on the football field in the fall, or on the basketball court in the dead of winter, or in the spring during track and field season, McCool Junction’s coaches and his teammates knew that senior Ryland Garretson never took a day off.

Garretson epitomized the three-sport athlete as he adapted to each sport and excelled in all three during his four-year run at McCool Junction.

Last May, he draped four medals around his neck at the Class D State Track and Field Meet in Omaha as he helped lead the Mustangs to a share of the Class D State Championship with Axtell.

People also read…

Garretson won individual medals with a second in the 200 meters and a third in the 100 meters and brought home gold as the anchor leg in both the 4×100 and 4×400 meter relays.

“We knew if Ryland took the lead in the relay, it was over,” Mustangs head coach Jeff Germer said. “He never seems to get tired and you know exactly what you’re going to get from Ryland. He wanted what was best for the team when it came to the state meet.

Over the course of the season, Garretson led the area and Class D in the 100 (10.68) and the 200 meters (22.05), he was also first in the high jump at 6-2 and second over all in the 400 with a clock speed of 51.98.







Garretson Football

McCool Junction senior Ryland Garretson (11) breaks off a long run against the Sutton Mustangs during the 2023 season. Garretson averaged 134.4 yards per game on the ground and finished the season with 1,075 yards. On defense, he averaged 11 tackles per night.


Ken Kus



During the Mustangs football season, Garretson was one of five area players to join the Bobby Mills 1,000-yard club as he rushed for 1,075 yards on 175 carries, for a per-game average of 134.4. He scored 14 rushing touchdowns and caught a pass 61 yards for another. He had five games of 100 yards or more, with his best overall performance coming in a win over Superior where he ran for 284 yards and six touchdowns.

On defense, he averaged 11 tackles per game and had five games with double-digit stops. He recorded a season-high 20 tackles in the team’s win over Heartland. Ryland received an honorable mention from the York News-Times.

His athleticism continued to shine during the basketball season, where he led the team with 8.2 rebounds per game, leading the Mustangs and among the leaders in the area.







Garretson Basketball

McCool Junction senior Ryland Garretson, 33, did a little bit of everything for the Mustangs on the basketball court this past year. Garretson grabbed 8.2 rebounds per game and averaged 9.7 points in the scoring column. His defense also shined, as seen here blocking a shot against Nebraska Lutheran at the CRC tournament.


Ken Kus



He averaged 9.7 points, which was third on the team, and he was among the leaders among area players in steals with 3.6 and he also averaged 2.2 assists.

“Ryland was the best athlete on the floor and his defense got us a lot of games,” McCool Junction head coach Jabe Wurtz said at the end of the 2023-2024 season. “He was a good shooter and passer for us in the post and he was a nightmare for opponents playing at the top of our 1-3-1 defence.”

Ryland shot 55% from the field and made 106 of 192 shots. His best game offensively was a 24-point outburst at East Butler and he scored in double figures in 12 games.

Garretson was a York News-Times All-Area choice, he was a Crossroads Conference second team and he earned Class D honorable mention honors in both the Omaha World-Herald and the Lincoln Journal Star.

Garretson plans to run at Doane next year.