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She achieved so much

Holly Mengis shined on the basketball and tennis courts for the Timberwolves as a Tualatin High School senior
by: Jaime Valdez, Holly Mengis, a 2006 Tualatin High School graduate, had success-filled seasons for both the Timberwolf girls basketball and girls tennis teams during the 2005-2006 school year.

TUALATIN - A lot of achievements.

A lot of honors.

A heck of a lot of victories.

But, maybe more importantly to Holly Mengis, there's been a lot of friends and a lot of special memories.

Mengis, who graduated from Tualatin High School on June 10, smiles when she thinks back about it all.

'There are so many fun memories and so many good friends,' she said. 'Sports made those bonds. It's been a big part of my life.'

And Mengis has been a big part of sports at Tualatin. Whether it being sinking a three-point basket for the Timberwolf girls basketball team or slashing a backhand crosscourt shot on the tennis court, Mengis shined in a big way at Tualatin - especially during her amazing senior year at the school.

It's been a senior year that saw Mengis be part of two Pacific-9 Conference championship teams. It was a senior year that saw her honored as a member of the Class 4A girls basketball All-State first team. It also was a year that saw Mengis win a district tournament doubles championship during tennis season.

'I had a great time my senior year,' Mengis said with a smile. 'It was a lot of fun.'

A lot of fun, and a lot of accomplishments.

'Holly had a fantastic year,' Tualatin girls tennis coach Doug Rostron said. 'She is an amazing athlete. She's also a terrific role model. She's highly-motivated and very focused.'

'Holly is a model athlete to coach,' Timberwolf girls basketball coach Todd Jukkala said. 'She worked so hard on her own to develop her skills. The best thing is that she's also a good student and a great kid.'

That great kid picked up yet another honor for her senior year at Tualatin as she has been chosen as the Tigard/Tualatin Times Athlete of the Year, from Tualatin High School, for the 2005-2006 school year. The honor goes to the top senior-class athlete, as seen by the Times, at Tualatin High.

In her senior year, Mengis, as could often be seen on the basketball court and the tennis court, usually had a friendly smile on her face.

But don't let that fool you - she was always ready for any challenge.

'Underneath the smiles, she's a real competitor,' Jukkala said. 'She's all heart.'

'She's extremely competitive,' Rostron said.

Mengis herself may have summed it up best.

'I hate to lose,' she said. 'I really hate to lose.'

Well, during her senior year at Tualatin, Mengis didn't have to put up with losing very often.

Between the Wolves' basketball season and her doubles matches during the tennis season, Mengis had an overall won-loss record of 44-3 in her senior year.

Mengis was a key player for the close-knit Tualatin girls basketball team that went 28-1 this past season and placed third at the Class 4A state tournament.

But maybe what she treasured most from the season was the chance to play, one last year, with a group of friends that she's played basketball with since the fifth grade.

'We had an amazing bond. It seems like we played together forever,' Mengis said. 'I can't even explain it. We just always knew were each other was on the court. That helped a lot.'

It was playing with her fellow seniors - her close friends - such as Kristin Hein, Kate DePaepe, Madison Mendezona and Carlyn Re, that made her senior basketball season more meaningful.

'We grew up together. That made this senior year special,' Mengis said. 'We always said that when we're seniors, we'd do well.'

They did do well - and Mengis seemed to be a big part of that success.

Mengis, a 5-foot-7 wing, led the balanced, and potent, Timberwolf offense with 13.9 points a game average. She provided a keen outside shooting touch to go with a quick baseline drive to the basket. Mengis also seemed to improve her game on the defensive end of the court.

All of that didn't go unnoticed by coaches around the Pacific-9 Conference as they selected Mengis as the league's Player of the Year.

'I was not expecting that,' Mengis said. 'It was so nice. It was such a great honor, but I felt like our whole team deserved it.'

Holly's older sister, Lindsey, twice previously was selected the Pac-9 Player of the Year.

'That made it more special,' Holly Mengis said. 'I really look up to her.'

The honors kept coming.

Mengis, who was a first-team All-State Tournament selection as a junior, was voted to the Class 4A All-State first team as a senior.

'I still don't know if it's real,' she said modestly. 'I can't believe I got it. But I know that I couldn't have got it without my teammates.'

'Holly is very team-oriented,' Jukkala said. 'She was a big part of the chemistry that the seniors developed.'

The Wolves rolled to a 28-1 record during the 2005-2006 season with their only loss coming to perennial power Oregon City in the semifinals of the state tournament. Tualatin bounced back to finish the season strong, downing Ashland 81-49 in the third place game. Mengis tied for game-high scoring honors in that final contest with 17 points.

'It was cool,' Mengis said of the third-place game victory. 'But it was sad. It was the last time we'll play together. It was an awesome season. Everyone was so unselfish and we all got along so well.'

From there, it was on to tennis.

'In years past, tennis was my fun sport,' Mengis said. 'But this year, as a senior, I was a little more serious.'

Still, she didn't know how her senior season was going to turn out.

As a freshman and sophomore, she and her older sister formed a strong doubles team. The Mengis sisters played in the state tournament each of those two years while also winning the Pac-9 district doubles title during Holly's sophomore season.

As a junior, with her older sister graduated, Holly Mengis played singles. She, again, earned a spot at the state tournament, but things weren't the same.

'I definitely like doubles better,' she said. 'I wanted to get back to playing doubles as a senior, but, going into the season, I didn't know who I'd play with.'

Rostron teamed Mengis up with Tualatin junior Abby Messenger.

'Abby's a great player, but I was a little hesitant at first,' Mengis said. 'She wasn't my sister.'

Sister or not, the team clicked right away. Mengis and Messenger went unbeaten at No. 1 doubles in Pac-9 play.

They entered the Pac-9 district tournament as the No. 2-seeded team. Mengis and Messenger ended up meeting the top-seeded team, McMinnville's Carrie McCann and Alex Tritten, the defending league champs, in the district tournament title match.

The Tualatin duo won the first set of the title match 6-1, but McCann and Tritten jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set.

'We told each other we can come back from this,' Mengis said. 'We helped each other get up. Abby was awesome.'

Mengis and Messenger didn't lose another game in the set as they won the title match 6-1, 6-3.

'I didn't think we'd get it,' Mengis said. 'We still talk about that match. I really wanted it.'

Mengis and Messenger ended up winning one of their two matches at the state tournament to cap off their season.

'Holly was a terrific doubles player,' Rostron said. 'It was a joy and a privilege to have an athlete like her to coach. She had a terrific career and made everyone around her better.'

Be it at basketball or tennis, Mengis seemed to always have her personal cheering section - her family.

That support group includes her parents, Jeff and Susie Mengis, Lindsey and younger sister Ali. But it doesn't stop there. Aunts, grandparents, you name it, they're there.

'I couldn't have been the player I am without all of them,' Holly said. 'It's amazing. I can't even explain how close we are - and that helps so much. My family is so supportive. They never miss anything. It makes a big difference to know your family is there.'

As for the future, Holly Mengis will join her older sister at Oregon State University.

'I'll probably play some intramural stuff there,' she said. 'I don't know if I can give up sports all together.'

One thing's for sure, she doesn't have to give up those memories, those friends and that amazing senior season.