Volleyball state run, track state appearance highlight standout 2016
By Mike Ramczyk
What didn’t Burlington High School senior Megan Wallace do in 2016?
The 17-year-old city of Burlington native is a throwback to multi-sport athletes, a 5-foot-9 natural athlete who shows grace, quickness and explosiveness on the basketball court, the track and the volleyball court.
Wallace enjoyed a solid basketball in the winter, reached the state track and field meet in the long jump in June and helped the Burlington volleyball team reach the Division 1 state title game in November.
For her efforts, Wallace is the area’s 2016 Female Athlete of the Year. The Standard Press sports staff considers athletes from Burlington, Catholic Central, Union Grove and Waterford high schools.
Wallace comes from an athletic family, which supports her during offseason workouts and pushes her to be her best.
The hard work paid off in 2016, as Wallace missed the school record by three inches with a jump of 17-4 at sectionals and fared in the top 20 at state.
Also, she averaged 11.2 points and 6.4 rebounds for the Lady Demons basketball team as a junior, and Wallace has increased those numbers to 12.7 and 7.0 as a senior. When taking the ball to the hoop, Wallace is a relentless force.
Perhaps her biggest accomplishment was providing the volleyball team with a staunch middle blocker and earning first team all-conference and all-county accolades.
The second team All-Area pick tallied 208 kills with a .394 hitting percentage and added 44 blocks.
“Megan was one of the most athletic middles in the state this season,” Burlington volleyball coach Teri Leach said. “Her speed and quickness allowed her to be an extremely effective middle hitter.”
The Southern Lakes Newspapers sports staff recently caught up with Wallace to talk about her banner year.
SLN: When did you get your start in sports?
MW: I started sports at the age of 4 in gymnastics. From there I played softball and after that, I started to play basketball. I come from a strong athletic family. Both my parents Michael and Karen Wallace played youth sports and competed at Burlington High School. My whole family is very competitive when it comes to sports.
SLN: What is your favorite sport, and why?
MW: As much I love every season and sport I would have to say my favorite sport is Track and Field. It is my favorite because it is a very competitive individual and team sport.
SLN: How have you become the athlete you are today?
MW: I have become the athlete I am today by my hard work, determination, willingness to listen to others, and love for the game.
I have taken the time to get into the gym and weight room outside of regular seasons and practice to help me get better.
I would like to say thanks to my parents and brother for taking their time as well to take me to the gym and be my personal rebounder, videographer, and critic. Their competitive spirit has helped me want to strive to be my best. I have also had a few coaches through the years that have made a positive impact on my athletic career. Their knowledge of the game and willingness to help me be the best I can be has been huge.
SLN: Tell me about your track season. How do you feel you performed at state?
MW: I have thought my past three track seasons have been great. Each year I seem to improve in a different event.
Last year it was more of a focus on long jump. My goal for the season was to make it back to state where I had made it to state the previous season for the 400 meter dash.
At the beginning of the year I knew that I had goals for each one of my events and I definitely wanted to achieve them by the end of the season to prepare for my senior year.
After my all-time best jump of 17-4, I had gained an extreme amount of confidence in myself because I realized how close I am and how much I am capable of doing.
My state performance definitely wasn’t what I wanted it to be, but I told myself I need to move on and prepare for next season.
SLN: What is it like to be a middle blocker?
MW: The middle position is definitely a tough spot. It is more work than anyone thinks it is.
There is more to it than just pounding balls and getting blocks. It is crucial as a middle blocker to close the blocks to help the back row make their reads and to make sure they are getting up to pull the other blockers.
I started playing volleyball in seventh grade. Because I did not have as much experience as the other kids who had played club I knew that I had to work that much harder to improve my overall volleyball skills.
SLN: How do you feel your basketball game is developing, and how is the team doing this season?
MW: I am more confident in myself and my abilities on the court. This is my senior season of basketball, and I have been looking forward to it for awhile. There are a number of us on the team that have been playing together since fifth grade. I hope we are able to surprise people and leave Burlington girls basketball on a positive note.
SLN: Your GPA is 3.7. What’s your secret to balancing all your sports with your academics?
MW: The secret to balancing sports and academics is time management. I learned this very quickly when I played club volleyball and was a member of the basketball team. There wasn’t a lot of time between school and two practices, so it was very important that I made the most of any free time I had.
SLN: What are your goals for basketball and track season, and what are your plans for next fall?
MW: My goal for basketball is to go as far into the playoffs as possible. My goal for track season is to make it back to state for the long jump and to make it to the podium. I plan to attend UW-Eau Claire next fall where I plan to major in Communicative Disorders, minor in Spanish, and run Track and Field as a Blugold.
SLN: What advice do you have for young girls who want to be successful student-athletes some day?
MW: My advice is to be willing to listen to others. There are so many knowledgeable people in this world that are willing to help you, so make sure to always take the advice. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your coaches, they can help you with personal and academic situations and help you improve your game.
And most importantly, be ready to work hard because not everything comes easy. The hard work you put in will pay off but most importantly have fun and enjoy what you are doing.
The Megan Wallace File
Favorite quote: “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
Favorite movie: “Hoosiers”
Favorite song: “Thunderstruck”, AC/DC
Sports are: where I have made some great friends and memories through the years.
I won Female Athlete of the Year because: I have worked very hard in the 3 sports that I compete in.
Favorite Christmas present from last Christmas: My letterman jacket.
The best Christmas present I gave: The best Christmas present I gave was to my grandpa. It was a picture of him and I. But to me it was special because around the frame it said, “You are my sunshine”. To me that was special because my grandpa always tells me that I am his sunshine.
Pregame food ritual: 3 bowls of Lucky Charms and a hand full of mini chocolate chips.
If you could have dinner with one person dead or alive, who would it be and why? Abraham Lincoln, because he did an exceptional job at leading our country through its darkest moment.