BILLINGS -- Some kids complain about being small. Others do something about it -- like leverage it on the sports field.
Billings Skyview freshman Ryder Tormaschy looks like a youth player on a varsity soccer team. But watch him for a moment and you realize he’s the definition of leverage.
"I think his whole life he’s obviously been one of the smallest kids, and, talking to Ryder and his parents, he doesn't let that affect the way he plays," Falcons head coach Russell Dornisch told MTN Sports after a recent playoff win over Great Falls High.
Smallest kids? Dornisch actually confessed to us with concern that when he saw Tormaschy play over the summer, he was worried the thin 5-foot kid would get crushed. It's understandable. Watch Tormaschy line up for a corner kick and it appears he is not even as tall as the corner flag. But the freshman plays size to his advantage.
“He doesn’t let anybody push him around," Dornisch said. "I think being that low and center of gravity he’s kind of able to catch people off guard. The biggest thing I’ve noticed is just that people stop looking for him and he sneaks in and finds placed to go. The kid is smart.
"He knows where to be in the right place at the right time. The kid is always on the end of something. He’s come close to several goals this year.”
Tormaschy was on the end of a stunning shot that found the net in last week’s playoff-opening win over the Bison. He connected on a high-difficulty game winner from about 18 yards that sailed over three defenders. The 2-1 victory sent Skyview to the quarterfinals, before the Falcons bowed out Saturday at defending State AA champion Missoula Hellgate, which owns four of the past five titles.
“He’s played a huge role on this team," said Falcons junior forward Taylor Moore, the Eastern AA leader in season points. "Obviously, kind of won us the game. He’s a great player, he fights. He has a great attitude, too, and he’s a pleasure to play with.”
Moore is one of Skyview’s tallest players. After finishing his interview, the adjustment in tripod height for Tormaschy's session was beyond noticeable. The freshman told us he's 5-foot even, legit, without shoes.
“The one thing I’ve said, and all my coaches have said, and I’ve talked to Ryder about it (size), and talked to his parents about it, and I think I maybe underestimated him a little bit because throughout workouts this summer, he always did amazing things on the field," Dornisch said. "And all the kids said it, they said if Ryder was a little bit taller, he’d be a starter on this team.”
Well, turns out he is a starter on this team after earning it mid-season.
“I tried to prove (Dornisch) wrong and I made it there (to varsity) throughout the second half of the season," Tormaschy told MTN Sports. "Never give up and show them that size doesn’t matter."
“We lost some players due to quarantine and COVID, so we kind of had to shove him in there," Dornisch recalled. "And the moment we shoved him in there, we knew he wasn’t going to lose his spot on this team.”
“We’re so proud of him, this being his first year and all that he’s accomplished so far,” Moore said.
It was clear how proud when players and coaches messed up his hair, hugged him and picked him up after the playoff win.
“Feels really cool," Tormaschy said. "Feels like I’m part of the team.”
Naturally, he’s noticed a few smirks from opponents.
“Some of them just look at me and laugh, and I just show them," Tormaschy said convincingly. "Then they’re like, ‘Don’t underestimate this kid. He’s not what he looks like.’ And I just show them what I can be.”
Next challenge, he said, is to bulk up. When asked if that means lifting more weights, eating a few protein bars and drinking more milk, Tormaschy just chuckles. All he can do is laugh.
There's no such thing as being too small in his world and it's clear he has soccer right where he wants it.