Laura McManes is preparing to take a big leap into the next chapter of her academic and sporting life.
McManes, 18, was among the recent recipients of the Manitoba High School Athletic Association’s (MHSAA) 2013 Jostens High School Athletes of the Year. McManes picked up the award in the AAAA Girls category.
This category applies to Winnipeg schools with a student population of 500 or more and includes Lord Selkirk, Crocus Plains, Steinbach, Springfield, Stonewall, Winkler, Portage Collegiate and Vincent Massey High School in Brandon.
The recent Glenlawn Collegiate graduate is busy packing her bags as she gets ready to attend the University of Calgary on a volleyball scholarship to play for the Dinos.
"I’m very excited," said McManes, who will be pursuing her studies in biological sciences and has hopes of becoming a pharmacist.
Aside from volleyball, McManes also took part in other sports including basketball, handball, badminton and track and field during her high school days.
She was the captain of her varsity volleyball team and co-captain of her basketball team. She helped her volleyball team reach the final four of the provincial finals in 2013 and the team landed second place in the tournament in 2012. She was also named a provincial all-star.
And despite the crossover of playing numerous different sports, the teen said the skills she developed will serve her well in the future.
"Once you develop a variety of different skills, they tend to carry over. For example, in handball, the action of throwing is similar to hitting a volleyball," McManes said, noting teachers such as Lisa Hill and Russ Harder were integral to her development.
"They are very important people in my life and basically became like my second family. I don’t think I’d have got half of the sporting achievements without the staff at the school," she said.
In terms of winning the 2013 Jostens High School Athletes of the Year award, McManes was humble when discussing the accolade.
"I was almost surprised when I heard I’d won it. There were so many great athletes in that division. Everyone wants to be the best, so to actually win it is quite the achievement," said McManes, who also helped her Cobras club team win bronze medal at the national club championships.
And considering her all-around sporting prowess and potential, what is it about volleyball that keeps McManes striving to be the best?
"It’s relaxing. When I’m playing, I’m in a relaxed zone. It’s what I love doing. Everyone trains for the game days, but practising isn’t a problem, either. It helps me relieve stress and focus."
Glenlawn coach Bryan Kornberger, who coached McManes on the basketball court, said her both her attitude and her versatility were assets to the school.
"Laura is one of the finest people, and players, I have ever been associated with," Kornberger said.
"In this age of specialization, Laura was so devoted to every sport she participated in at Glenlawn and was adored and admired by her teammates as a result."