It’s hard these days to find an athlete who leads by example. One who produces results in the pool, letting actions speak louder than words.
One hundred and twenty-seven goals in three years speak volumes for junior women’s water polo captain Julie Hyrne who was, described by her teammates as “the quiet leader.”
“It’s her work ethic in practice and matches that inspires us,” junior captain Mary Chatigny said. “She leads by example.”
Michigan coach Matt Anderson saw Hyrne play as a 13-year old in Sunnyvale, Calif., and was blown away.
“I knew right then she would be playing for me someday,” Anderson said. “And when I came to coach at Michigan, I knew she would be a Wolverine.”
Hyrne didn’t expect a future in water polo until she saw her sister’s own success earn her a scholarship at perennial powerhouse San Jose State. Hyrne began swimming at a young age and continued to swim competitively through high school, earning an All-American honor in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
But it was her family’s love for water polo that put the ball in her hands, and it didn’t take long for Hyrne to find her true calling.
Hyrne leads the 14th-ranked Wolverines with seven goals this season, and was recently named CWPA Player of the Week for the third time in two years. Last season, she was named to the CWPA All-Western Division first team. Despite the high honors, Hyrne remains quite modest about her skills.
“I still need to progress,” Hyrne said shyly when asked about her multiple awards.
Hyrne continues to quietly climb through the ranks of great water polo players at Michigan and is currently the fifth highest goal-scorer in school history.Just 19 goals stand between her and second place, a feat she should easily accomplish this season. Two-time All-American and Hyrne’s former teammate Shana Welch is first with 247 goals.
Hyrne may be quiet, but it’s no secret she loves to score.
Last year against UC-San Diego, she notched 10 points, the highest single-game total in program history.
“She can affect the game in so many ways,” Anderson said. “She just sees the ball, and she wants it.”
It’s the effect Hyrne’s presence has on her teammates that prompted Anderson to give her captain status this year.
“Maybe she’s not the most outspoken leader, but she leads by integrity,” Anderson said. “She makes everyone around her better.”