Cleat Geeks

Women of Sports: Krysten Muir (Part 1)

Krysten Muir is currently a junior at Marcos de Niza High School and the starting kicker for the Varsity football team. She is an honest, confident, young woman kicking down barriers and setting records in the state of Arizona and across the nation.

Since the age of 4, Krysten has been playing soccer and watching athletes run up and down the football field. She grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her dad was the assistant football coach for Arbor View High School at the time, so she basically grew up on the football field.

After watching an Arbor View High School Football game, an 8 year-old Krysten was inspired by their female placekicker, McKenzie Kras. Rather than sit by the sidelines, she decided to train as a kicker, too.

When Krysten and her family moved to Arizona her freshman year everything fell into place. After a lot of hard work and dedication, she worked her way to the starting kicker position for the varsity football team.

I sat down with Krysten over the weekend and asked her the following questions:

Q: I read in a USA Today article that your father told you, “You had to earn it.” How did you earn it – the respect and trust from your teammates and coaches?
A: I had to be out there every day, showing them that I was working hard. I actually did everything that the guys had to do. I would work out and run with them. I would do extra workouts. When I played JV Football, I was also on the JV Volleyball team. As soon as I would get done with volleyball practice, I would change really quickly and then run out to the football field. I’d start kicking right away and then stretch. At the beginning of this season, I’d lift twice a day, everyday. I would show my coaches and teammates that I could get all of this muscle and power and make these kicks through the uprights. At first I didn’t have a kicking coach. Even without a coach I would show them that I could still do this on my own, and that I really wanted the kicking spot. I guess it was just showing them hard work and dedication.

Q: Arizona Central Sports honored you as Athlete of the Week in December 2015. What was it like, receiving that honor?
A: It was crazy! It was me and another guy, and we were the first ones to be nominated and receive the Athlete of the Week recognition. When they called to tell me that I was chosen, I was like, “Holy crap!” I wanted to know who had nominated me. I didn’t even know what to say. She was asking me questions and I couldn’t think of answers because I was so in shock. But it was really cool!

Q: Because you are a woman playing predominantly a male sport, and with your father acting as your team’s coach people must assume there is favoritism. How do you respond when people make that assumption?
A: I tell them that’s not why I’m out here. A lot of people say, “She’s just out there because her dad is out there,” or “She’s only on the team because her dad’s there.” I’m out there because I want to do it. It’s something that I have always wanted to do since I was about 8 years old. If I was just out there because my dad is out there, I wouldn’t put so much work in. I put in a ton of work. I’m showing you guys that I want this. I’m not just out here because my dad is out here. He’s not going to let me drift by, trust me he’s not. My dad actually didn’t get involved, he always said I needed to show and prove to the guys and the coaches that I really wanted to be a part of the team, and that I wasn’t going to receive any special treatment because he was a coach. My dad also pushed me to work and I’m pushing myself to work.

Q: Do you have any other passions outside the world of sports?
A: Yes, when I first moved to Arizona I used to ride and train horses and I would compete.

Q: I’ve seen a few pictures of you with horses. Do animals hold a special place in your life?
A: Yes, when I was younger and even now, I always wanted to be a vet or help and train animals. Especially horses, because they are one of my favorite animals. If I was ever mad or upset, I would just go out with the dogs or horses and that would help me calm down.

Q: Is that your horse in your Facebook photos? What’s the horse’s name?
A: Yes, well she was, I had to donate her to a local barn in town. Merlot is a crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy horse. But with me she was perfect. When I was at the barn my trainer had everybody ride her to try and find out who was good for her. I was the last person and my trainer asked me if I’d like to ride this horse. I had been looking at her and had wanted to ride her for a while. My trainer said, “Alright, her name is Merlot. She is really hot, so just kind of work with her a little bit.” As soon as I got on, we just kind of clicked. After the ride, my trainer asked me if I would like to keep her. Whoa! I was like holy crap, I’m down! Merlot is a really expensive horse, and I got her for free. She’s crazy gorgeous. After I got her, we were trying to figure out ways to calm her down. One trainer suggested that we breed her. At first I was like, “What, you’re crazy! She’ll kill the baby or something.” But the trainer reassured me that it would calm her down. Now she’s expecting and should give birth in May or April. I’m excited and want to be there for that.

Q: Last week you were honored by Tempe Union High School district for being the first female in Arizona to score 67 total points. Were you also the first female ever to score points in a state championship football game in Arizona?
A: Yes.

Q: How does that accomplishment drive you in everyday life?
A: It just makes me want to break more records and set more records. And show people and girls of any age that you can do this! If I was able to do this so can they! Be confident in yourself. Just having girls think, “If she can do it, then I can do it!” Have them go out to do something that they want to. Have confidence in yourself and you can do it, just put your mind to it and never ever allow anyone tell you, you’re not strong enough or you can’t play that game or do that job.

Q: You are ranked 15 of 286 in the state of Arizona for High School kickers. Are you the only female ranked?
A: As of that season, yes I was the only active female. In the State I’m ranked 15th. In our Division II Section V; I’m ranked 1st for most PATS Scored and 1st for Kick Scoring, for Division II, I’m 2nd, Division II has about 52 schools in total. I’m not sure right now if there’s another girl coming in, but if there is I’m going to make sure that I keep my record. [Laughs]

Q: What have these many awards and accolades done for you athletically?
A: It pushes me to be better than I was this season. I was 92% accurate and for this upcoming season I want to be closer to at least 98% or even make them all and not have any blocked kicks or anything. So it just pushes me to do better.

Q: Do you practice a lot working on timing with your holder and snapper?
A: Yes, my holder played a ton of other positions so we never really got a chance to ‘practice practice’ on our own time, but when it was time to only run through special teams, he would be there. We actually changed my steps to one-steps so I would be a second or under a second with my kicks.

Q: Do you have a celebration you do with your holder and snapper after the kick?
A: My holder would usually say great job and pat my helmet. Guys pat each other on the butt, but I’m a girl and they don’t feel comfortable with that. And to be honest neither would I, so they’ll pat my back or my helmet. But if it’s a really big kick or if we need my kicks to win the game, he’d hug me and say I love you [laughs], and I’m like “Okay, I love you, too” and it’s just funny. A couple of guys on the line that block for me, some of them and I will have a handshake. One of the best hitters out there, Jacob Hernandez, he and I would run off and do our handshake. Another guy, Anthony NiCastro, I remember – I think it was the semi-championship game and it was when we had a 15 yard penalty on my kick and it was totally in my range – but he said, “This is the time. This is your kick. You got this!” He pulled me close and we were helmet to helmet and he said, “You got this. You got this.” So I thought that was pretty cool. And then my kicking coach during the games, we had a handshake and at every game we would add on to it. At the state championship game our handshake was super long, so we had to go off to the side to do it. It was really funny.

This is part one of the in-depth interview with Krysten Muir. Next week we will have the conclusion of the interview where she talks about; a former NFL kicker taking her under his wing, her tastes in music, “A” mountain, and what happens when she lets her hair down plus other things.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next Wednesday! Follow Krysten on Instagram and Hudl.

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