KHQA STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE WEEK PRESENTED BY CELL TECH, PETERS HEATING AND AIR, AND SUBWAY
West Prairie High School
Class Rank: 1st
College: Undecided (leaning towards Webster University)
Intended Major: Advertising/Marketing
Involvements: Senior Class President, Yearbook Editor, Naitonal Honor Society, Drama Club, Choir, Band, FFA, Scholastic Bowl, SADD, Student Council, Community Aid
They were the most successful...are arguably the shiest volleyball team in Western Illinois this season; with one notable exception.
After each West Prairie win this postseason....media interviews were hard to come by.
Hannah Mesick would hide from us. Jen Reedy would laugh us off. And Jen Schwerer perfected the "don't even try it" stare....
Which left only our newly crowned Student Athlete of the Week to bail out your friendly neighborhood media guys.
Rachel Mencel: "Everybody knows I like to talk a lot. So it's always been..."Ooh, somebody has got to say something; let's have Rachel do it" and so they just kind of push me out. I always have something to say, I guess. But, it's fun to be the person that gets to be the spokesperson for the entire team and its nice that my teammates respect me enough to be that person."
Spend any amount of time around Rachel Mencel and its easy to understand the source of that respect. This is a young woman who refuses to short change any of the various/numerous commitments in her life. Volleyball most visibly; with an intensity that carries on even when she is off the court.
Rachel Mencel: "When Hannah (Mesick) and I were picked as captains that just kind of pushed me to be a better player and to be a better role model, and so that really set the mode for my entire season. It was intense and I loved all of it. And finishing at State is the best way to go so as a Senior that is something I will always remember and look fondly back upon..."
Rachel Mencel: "Everywhere that I go, you have to constantly think about who you are as a player and that pushes you on and off the court. And so even though I may not be playing all six rotations, something that I can always do to help the team out is add with my voice and encourage everyone and that's what I try to do."
Even though she is a one sport athlete, Rachel's workload didn't exactly lighten up with the end of Volleyball Season. The Cyclone Senior is a valedictorian candidate who also serves as her class president and yearbook editor; as well as competing in band, choir, drama club, FFA, and Scholastic Bowl. And she spends much of her "off time" volunteering through her Church Youth Group.
Rachel Mencel: "It's definitely a very busy life style that I lead. And I think I get some of that from my family. They definitely push me to be the best that I can be and they I wouldn't be the person that I am without them. It's nice to know that they support me behind everything I do. What really pushed me to only do Volleyball was my Mom. She said to pick one sport and stick with it if you love it. And I fell in love with volleyball when I started playing in fifth grade."
And it's a passion she plans to graft onto her vocational and college goals as well
Rachel Mencel: "Right now I have my heart set on Webster University in Saint Louis. I have been talking to their volleyball coach for a while now. And I really really like her. She's a very, very nice lady and she's been with the school for about 20 years. So they have a really great program there. And I've actually been able to go see a game, so that was really cool."