Jun 4, 2021
Two accomplished student-athletes took two very different paths to the same moment, as seniors Quinn Menger of St. Catherine’s and Deklan Wingo of Thomas Dale are the Times-Dispatch All-Metro volleyball players of the year for the 2020 season, which was played in 2021.
Menger becomes the first repeat winner of the girls volleyball award since Catherine Hanners of Douglas Freeman was named player of the year in 2004 and 2005. It’s a sport which she was born into. Literally.
“When I was two days old, my mom placed me in a volleyball cart and pushed me around when she was coaching,” Menger recalled with a laugh, adding that as she grew, she used the cart as a walker as well.
Menger’s mother, Debra, coached at several schools, including James River, where Menger’s father, Clark, now is at the helm. Quinn literally has no memory of life without volleyball, until the pandemic struck.
Menger made the most of the six matches St. Catherine’s played in a shortened season, with no playoffs, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, I lived three weeks without the game I love, and you realize that you can’t take any time for granted,” Menger said. “In the fall, I was playing club and high school, and some days I would play five or six hours, and I would come home really tired. But I was grateful for the competition, how my teammates were reacting and how focused they were.”
Her father built a volleyball net outside to help his daughter connect with her passion while the world stood still. As a commit to national powerhouse Penn State, Menger needed to keep her skills sharp in any way possible, but the move also proved to be psychologically important as well.
“Continuing to get reps on the ball and not losing the physical aspect is important, especially when I have a tough, competitive atmosphere ahead of me,” Menger said. “My love for the game is so strong, so without it, it was crippling.”
Now beginning to focus on her future with the Nittany Lions, where she plans to major in biology with plans to become a radiologist, she looks back at the past year thankful to be able to, as a volleyball lifer, simply pay it forward.
“What made me so excited was the young players in Richmond, and St. Catherine’s, who are coming up the line and are definitely going to have their own impact,” Menger said. “That is something I’ll never lose memory of, because I got to see them from when they started. No matter how far I go, I watched them start, and I know they’re going to go far, and it makes me excited.”
Meet the rest of the girls first team (partial)
School: St. Catherine'sYear: Junior
Position: Outside hitter
The skinny: A second-team All-Metro honoree in 2019, Williamson averaged 4.21 kills and two digs per set during the Saints’ abbreviated six-match schedule. She is the heir apparent to Menger for on-court leader for the Saints this fall.