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Everything just kept getting better

Megan Shields found a perfect way to cap off her astounding athletic career at Sherwood
by: Dan Brood SHERWOOD STAR – Megan Shields has been a fixture for the Lady Bowmen volleyball and basketball teams.

SHERWOOD - An amazing career.

A perfect ending.

Yes, things went just the way Megan Shields had hoped they would.

And she's pretty darn happy about it.

Shields, who graduated from Sherwood High School in June, gets a smile on her face as she looks back on her senior year at Sherwood - which capped off an astounding athletic career at the school.

'This year was great,' she said. 'After three years, I had finally peaked. Things kept getting better as the years went on, and for this year to be the best was really nice.

'I thought I did the best I could. I had real good teammates and it's so great to be part of the Bowmen family.'

And, it's probably very safe to say, the Bowmen family is proud to call Shields one of its own.

That makes sense, after all, as a senior, Shields helped lead the Sherwood volleyball team to its first ever state championship. She also helped power the Lady Bowmen girls basketball team to a berth in the Class 5A state tournament. And, to cap off her senior year, Shields had a strong track and field season, competing mainly in the shot put.

The victories kept piling up, and so did the accolades and honors.

Now, Shields has another honor to add to the list as she's got yet another honor as she's been named The Times' Athlete of the Year for Sherwood High School. The honor goes to the top senior-class athlete, as seen by The Times, at Sherwood High School for the 2010-2011 school year.

Shields is sharing the Sherwood Athlete of the Year honor with fellow Lady Bowmen three-sport star McKenzie Griffin (see related story).

'Everything she does she makes look easy,' Sherwood volleyball coach Emily Gustafson said of Shields. 'Her desire to improve is contagious and makes everyone around her want to be a better player.'

'I love Megan,' said Griffin, who was Shields' teammate in three sports. 'She always made me smile. In basketball, she really pushed me. She always motivated me and we bonded a lot.'

'Megan is naturally talented and a gifted leader,' Sherwood girls basketball coach Liz Barrett said. 'Through the course of the last four years, she had excelled on the court. Megan is a tremendous competitor who always stood up to the challenge ahead.'

Going up against Shields, those challenges didn't really stand a chance - especially in her senior year.

And her amazing senior year started with an incredible volleyball season.

Championship season

'It was just awesome,' said the 6-foot-1 Shields, who played at middle blocker for the Lady Bowmen. 'It couldn't have ended any better.'

That's for sure.

Shields, and her talented Sherwood teammates, captured the school's very first state volleyball championship, as the Lady Bowmen bested Northwest Oregon Conference foe Liberty 24-26, 26-24, 25-23, 18-25, 15-11 in the Class 5A state championship match played last November at Liberty High School in Hillsboro.

Shields, a unanimous first-team all-state tournament selection, says that, every once in awhile, she still watches the tape of the state title match.

'My hands still sweat when I'm watching it,' said Shields, who had a team-high 22 kills in the state championship match. 'And I still get a smile on my face when I watch it.'

That smile, and the state championship, was the result of a lot of hard work.

'At team camp, we set some goals,' Shields said. 'I remember the Summit coach telling us that she knew we could be a championship team. That motivated us. From then on, we had our eyes set on the championship. Our coach told us 'if you want to play on Saturday night, you have to do the work now.''

By that, Gustafson meant 6 a.m. practices to start the season.

But that was OK for the close-knit Lady Bowmen team.

'We just all bonded so much,' Shields said. 'And we had a road map of goals. After every game, we'd check them off.'

And there was a lot of checking.

Sherwood claimed the NWOC championship, sweeping Liberty in a league tiebreaker match. The Lady Bowmen then swept Benson in a Class 5A play-in match. Sherwood then scored a sweep of Cleveland in a Class 5A playoff match to earn a spot in the state tournament.

The Lady Bowmen didn't slow down at the tourney. They scored a 25-22, 25-17, 23-25, 25-11 win over Marist in the quarterfinal round and then they notched a 23-25, 25-10, 25-21, 21-25, 15-10 win over West Albany in the semifinals to earn their spot in the state championship match.

And, the rest, of course, is history.

But, Shields says, the Lady Bowmen didn't take the most conventional path to the championship.

'We were a weird team,' she said with a laugh. 'Other teams think we're weird.'

But, what's not weird is Shields' role in Sherwood's success

'When I first met Megan her freshman year I was impressed by her natural athletic ability.' Gustafson said. 'Megan always greets me with a smile and her ability to make someone feel welcome is an admirable quality. Megan has transformed from her freshman year to her senior year in her desire to be a leader.'

The list of accolades also kept growing as Shields was both a first-team All-Northwest Oregon Conference first-team pick and a Class 5A All-State first-team pick.

And volleyball isn't even her main sport.

Power in the post

That would be basketball, where Shields has shined for the Lady Bowmen for four years.

'Basketball has always been a big part of my life,' Shields said. 'I was willing to do whatever it took to help the team succeed.'

As if Shields wasn't motivated enough, the fact that the Class 5A state tournament was going to be held in the newly opened Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, had her and her Sherwood teammates fired up even more.

'We really wanted to go there,' she said. 'This was a really big year for me and getting to go there would make it even bigger.'

Shields, a powerful post and the Lady Bowmen's top scorer, helped lead the Sherwood girls to second place in the NWOC.

After scoring a 78-51 win over Benson in a Class 5A state play-in game, the Lady Bowmen hosted North Eugene in a Class 5A state playoff game with the winner advancing to play in the Class 5A state tournament at Matthew Knight Arena.

Sherwood earned the tourney bid by scoring a 55-50 overtime win over North Eugene.

'That was the most physical game - and I loved it,' Shields said. 'To have that game lead to getting to play at the Knight Arena was awesome.'

The determined Shields came up big for the Lady Bowmen in the win. She scored a game-high 19 points on an 8-for-12 shooting night. She also had five rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and a pair of steals.

But best of all, with the win, Sherwood advanced to the state tournament.

'We were all in awe,' Shields said. 'It was like 'oh my gosh - we did it, and we did it as a team.' It was just awesome.'

Sherwood's stay at the state tournament didn't last as long as the Lady Bowmen had hoped. With Shields plagued with foul trouble virtually the entire contest, the Lady Bowmen fell 52-37 to eventual champion Springfield to start the tournament. Sherwood then fell 54-43 to NWOC rival Wilsonville in the consolation semifinals.

But that didn't take away from the accomplishments of the team, or of Shields.

Shields was a first-team all-league pick and a second-team all-state selection for her play on the basketball court as a senior.

'It was really special,' Shields said. 'It was a lot of fun.'

Fun on the track

Speaking of fun, that was the main motivator for Shields during the track season.

'It was fun. I enjoyed it,' she said.

Shields ended up her track season by placing sixth in the shot put event at the NWOC district meet with a throw of 32 feet, 0½ inches.

'There is so much technique,' Shields said. 'It eats me up. It's so annoying.'

But one thing that wasn't annoying - much the opposite, in fact - was the family support that Shields enjoyed throughout high school athletics.

Athletic genetics

'Their support is really important,' Megan Shields says of her parents, Jon and Stacey Shields. 'They're constantly there for me. When I'm frustrated, they bring me back. It's really nice having them there.'

Megan Shields, without a doubt, comes from an athletic family. Her father played football at Portland State University and had a brief National Football League career. Her mother was a standout basketball player at Tigard High School and Portland State University.

'My mom really supports me, and my dad has always made sure I work hard at everything,' Megan Shields said.

Megan will take that work ethic down south to Eugene. She has a dual enrollment with the University of Oregon and Lane Community College, and she will play women's basketball at Lane.