Laura McManes has received plenty of awards and accolades for her volleyball ability over the past year, and now she’s being recognized for her all-around talent.
The Grade 12 student at Glenlawn Collegiate was recently named one of five high school recipients of the Dr. Dale Iwanoczko Memorial Volleyball Scholarship, an award that annually recognizes students who combine athletic excellence with off-court citizenship and academic achievement.
The award is named for the former Lord Selkirk Regional High School and University of Manitoba star who led the Bisons to a national championship in 1991 and completed medical school before losing a battle with cancer at age 30.
"It means a lot to win an award that’s about more than just volleyball," McManes said, "Because I put so much work into academics and being involved in the community as well. Being recognized for overall achievement is special."
On the court, McManes was arguably the best high school player in the province last season. The outside hitter led Glenlawn to the final four, was named a provincial all-star, and helped her Cobras club team win a bronze medal at the national club championships.
When she isn’t playing volleyball, she can often be found coaching or refereeing middle school games. She’s part of the school’s grad committee, and helped with Glenlawn’s Halloween food drive.
"I finished a game at 8 p.m. and ran straight out of the gym to trick-or-treat for Winnipeg Harvest," said the River Park South resident.
Her costume? A Glenlawn volleyball uniform, of course.
A 95% student, McManes is heading to the University of Calgary to play for the Dinos in the fall. Joining her will be another recipient of the scholarship, her Cobras teammate Brianna Solberg of Miles Macdonell.
"It’s kind of special to win with someone you’re good friends with," McManes said. "She’s an amazing athlete, and we’re going to pursue our dreams together."
McManes said one of her main reasons for choosing Calgary was the state of the Dinos’ roster. All the current outside hitters are in their fifth year, so McManes will have every opportunity to earn significant playing time from the start.
"The potential to start is nice, but there’s no guarantee," she said. "I like Calgary a lot. The city felt right when I visited and the girls were very welcoming."
Along with contributing to the Dinos and pursuing a science degree — possibly leading to a pharmacy degree down the road — McManes has her sights set on the national junior team.
"That’s the next step for me," she said. "Hopefully this summer it happens."
Along with McManes and Solberg, scholarships were awarded to Sam Murphy of Vincent Massey Collegiate, Mackenzie Murray of Glenboro Collegiate and Alex Sabourin of College Regional Gabrielle Roy in Ile-des-Chenes. Each scholarship is worth $750.