The future Husky played three sports, earned 12 letters and won two state track and field titles during her career.
There’s dabbling in high-school sports. And then there’s Ginny Mehl.
The Tahoma senior’s “try it” attitude earned her so many honors that there’s barely enough room on her letterman’s jacket to display them all.
“You look at it and you’re thinking that thing must weigh like 50 pounds,” Tahoma volleyball coach Kelly Kim said. “It looks really heavy because there’s so much stuff on it and when she wears it around campus and you see people looking like, ‘Wow!’ ”
The little stars on the jacket that mark Mehl’s lettering in varsity volleyball are probably the most impressive since she never played the sport until high-school tryouts. There’s plenty more stars for four years lettering in basketball and track and field.
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Mehl capped her high-school career as the Class 4A state champion in shot put, placing second in the discus and javelin to help Tahoma win its first girls team state title. For her accomplishments, Mehl is The Seattle Times’ Female Athlete of the Year.
“She was a little unsure of herself because she didn’t have as much experience as (her teammates),” said Kim of Mehl, who was named to the all-state team as a middle blocker her junior year. She’s the only varsity player who doesn’t also play on a club team.
“But everyone else recognized right away how gifted she was athletically,” Kim continued. “And she’s a natural leader, doing it by example. She works the hardest and sweats the most.”
Being gifted almost got in the way of Mehl being dominant. She was good at basketball and volleyball, but her talent is throwing. It took finessing by Tahoma coach Keith Eager to get Mehl to believe it.
Throwing, like volleyball, was also a sport Mehl spotted and decided to try because, as an eighth-grader, she was tired of distance running. She liked throwing, but didn’t weight train as an underclassman and only worked on the skills during track season.
Winning a state title in the shot put as a sophomore helped Mehl grasp her talent in throwing. Earning a scholarship to Washington to throw for the Huskies sealed it.
“I could see it from the beginning,” Eager said. “But you only go through high school once and it’s the one time where she can play all of these sports, so I never discouraged it. When you get into Pac-12 athletics, you have to specialize. And now that she’s going to be a full-time track athlete, it’s going to be exciting to see what really happens.”
Mehl, who’s 6 feet 1, is also looking forward to homing in on just track. But it hasn’t tempered her want to dabble in new things — within the same sport.
Mehl competed in the Iron Wood Throws Classic earlier this month. Against some of the best in the nation, she placed third in shot put, fourth in discus and fifth in javelin. And left curious about adding the hammer and weight throws to her repertoire.
“I don’t know where I get it from,” said Mehl, whose parents aren’t athletes. “I didn’t have any goals as a freshman. I was just working hard.”
Her letterman’s jacket is proof.
“It’s cool to wear it out in public because people notice the kind of athlete you are,” Mehl said.