LACEY – Megan Kramer is a rarity nowadays in high school athletics – a three-sport varsity athlete who only competes in team sports for her high school.
Her weekends aren’t filled with club tournaments or playing with traveling teams in order to get exposure to college coaches.
It’s not that she doesn’t want to focus on a sport outside of the high school seasons. Kramer can’t because she’s too busy with her high school teams.
“I just don’t have the time,” said Kramer, North Thurston High’s senior volleyball setter. “There are some days in between seasons I just don’t know what to do with myself. It’s my normal.”
In addition to volleyball in the fall, the 5-foot-9 Kramer excels in basketball in the winter and tennis in the spring for the Rams. If you asked Kramer her sport-of-choice in middle school, she would’ve picked basketball.
Her mother, the former Brit Hanson, played basketball professionally in Australia after starring at the University of Puget Sound (1984-88).
Kramer first turned out for team volleyball at Chinook Middle School and she imagined playing college basketball until she tried out for volleyball at North Thurston.
Thanks to the Rams’ surprise
run at the Class 3A state tournament last season at Saint Martin’s University, Kramer wants a repeat state appearance.
“I want to play in that intensity,” she said. “That high level of play.”
She helped North Thurston make the most of its first state appearance since 1995, advancing to the championship match before losing to Prairie in three sets. The runner-up finish was the best mark in program history.
First-year coach Jackie Meyer, a North Thurston assistant coach from 2004-07, said players such as Kramer, who don’t play club volleyball, have a better mental approach. That was on display at the state tournament in the Rams’ victories over Shorecrest, Columbia River and Southridge.
“A lot of those girls who play year-round tend to be more mental about (the game) – more technical and harder on themselves, where Megan is just playing volleyball and enjoying playing volleyball,” said Meyer, a former Yelm High School and Central Washington volleyball standout.
“That’s nice to see about her.”
That state experience got Kramer thinking about volleyball beyond high school. She doesn’t want her volleyball career to end with the completion of the high school season in November.
“I realized that level of play is so fun,” Kramer said. “I can’t imagine not playing volleyball next year.”
New faces for T-Birds: If Tumwater is to make it three consecutive Class 2A state title match appearances, it will have to do it with a fresh set of faces. The Thunderbirds feature an all-new starting lineup; only senior Kylie Bishopp, a Davidson commit, started part-time for the T-Birds on a team that lost to West Valley (Yakima) in the state title match last season.
Rich traditions continue: Since 2010, seven South Sound programs (Olympia, Capital, Timberline, Tumwater, Black Hills, Centralia, North Thurston) have brought home a combined 10 state trophies, and last fall (Tumwater in 2A, North Thurston in 3A) was the second consecutive year a pair of teams played in state title matches, after the 2011 Tumwater (2A) and Olympia (4A) teams.
State tournament returns to Lacey: For the third consecutive year, Lacey will play host to state volleyball tournaments, with Saint Martin’s University’s Marcus Pavilion the site for the WIAA’s Class 4A and 3A state tournaments Nov. 15-16.
THREE MATCHES TO WATCH
Narrows 4A: Bellarmine Prep at Olympia, 7 p.m., Oct. 30
Narrows 3A: North Thurston at Timberline, 7 p.m. Oct. 30
2A Evergreen Conference: Capital at Tumwater, 7 p.m., Oct. 31
10 PLAYERS TO WATCH
OH Rachel Erickson, Capital, jr.
OH Rachel Kelson, Olympia, sr.
RS/OH Katie Sisson, North Thurston, jr.
OH Kylie Bishopp, Tumwater, sr.
OH Julie Spencer, W.F. West, jr.
S Megan Kramer, North Thurston, sr.
S Hunter Manke, Timberline, sr.
L Jensyn McCoy, Black Hills, sr.
MH Riley Podowicz, Timberline, sr.
MH Hannah St. Jean, Olympia, sr.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 email@example.com theolympian.com/southsoundsports @MegWochnick firstname.lastname@example.org