Megan Drake has walked through South Whidbey High School’s athletic hallway countless times.
Just above the walking corridor of the hallway are the pictures of dozens of former athletes who stood out from their teammates and were inducted into the “Wall of Fame.” Drake, who played volleyball and girls basketball, dreamed someday she might join them.
Drake accomplished that goal this past week when she and six other South Whidbey seniors were inducted into the 2017 Wall of Fame at a ceremony held in the high school new commons.
“I spent a lot of time walking in those hallways and seeing all those pictures,” said Drake, who was named first-team all-Cascade Conference in basketball. “It became a goal of mine. To finally make it is pretty special. It’s not something I’m taking for granted.”
The other inductees include Kacie Hanson (volleyball, girls basketball, softball), Connor Antich (football, baseball), Will Simms (baseball), Anna Leski (cross country), Bailey Forsyth (track and field ) and Anton Klein (boys golf).
“I think they’re a stellar well deserving class,” South Whidbey Athletic Director Paul Lagerstedt said.
The criteria for induction into the Wall of Fame for team sports is being named first-team all-league. The rules are the same for individual sports, though winning a district, league or bi-district championship and/or placing at the state championships can also lead to being inducted.
Drake, who will play for Pacific Lutheran University next year, said joining her idols on the Wall of Fame was the cherry on top of a enjoyable senior year of athletics. She attributed her dedication in the offseason, which included playing for a travel AAU basketball team, as the major reason for being named one of the league’s best players.
“I think that’s something that can make or break players,” Drake said. “It obviously helped me a lot.”
She also gave credit to her basketball coach, Andy Davis, who was willing to open up the gym so she could practice during the summer.
“I would text him at the most random times during the summer to use the gym,” Drake said. “He was always willing to unlock it. He was so helpful to me.”
Simms was Falcon baseball’s top pitcher this season. Unlike Drake, Simms didn’t think about being named to the Wall of Fame.
“When they told me, I was excited and happy,” Simms said. “But, I wasn’t really aiming for that. It was great to get there.”
Simms said being inducted comes with an added bonus. His younger brother Thomas will be able to see his picture on the wall when he enters high school this fall.
“It’s a great honor to be a part of the Wall of Fame,” Simms said. “It kind of shows your improvement and how you’ve grown over the years since the beginning.”
Lagerstedt said it was rare achievement for Hanson to be named to first-team all-league in all three of her sports.
“I think that’s an amazing year and speaks really well to her ability as an athlete and a competitor,” Lagerstedt said.
At the ceremony, coaches took turns talking about the athletes. Cross country head coach Doug Fulton said Leski was inducted into the Wall of Fame for earning first-team all-conference honors as a freshman in 2013. She later placed 14th at the state championships. Injuries hampered her as a sophomore and she was unable to continue distance running, Fulton said. Fulton also said her mark in the five-kilometer race at state was also fourth-best all-time for freshman in the school’s history.
The other inductees also had their share of accomplishments. Lagerstedt considered Antich to be the “glue” of the Falcon football team’s defense as a safety. Coaches in the league held similar sentiments and named him to the first-team as a defensive back. He was also a first-team all-league infielder in baseball.
Forsyth earned two medals at the state track and field championships in May in the 100 meters and 200 meters, while also winning a league championship in 100. She also broke the school record in the 200.
Klein’s 17th overall finish at the state boys golf championships helped the Falcon place second as a team. He was also named first-team all-league.