By David Pan Enterprise sports editor
Athletics taught Corinne Pingul and Wesley Dawn many lessons through the years.
The biggest was probably the simplest: hard work pays off.
For their hard work during their senior year, Pingul and Dawn were named Mountlake Terrace’s athletes of the year.
During middle school, Pingul recalled how she was playing three sports: volleyball, soccer and basketball. Pingul didn’t spend a lot of time at home.
“I was transferring from one practice to another,” she said. “It was something I wanted to do. I had to schedule time to do my homework. At lunch I had some time to do work. … It made me realize that I can’t come home and watch TV. I had to get busy. It helped me succeed.”
During her senior year, Pingul found the time to play basketball, soccer and tennis and also serve as the senior ASB President and be involved in the spirit council and the PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association).
Pingul’s involvement in school activities started during her sophomore year when she saw what other students were doing.
“I wanted to be more part of my school,” Pingul said.
Pingul had her friends from her sports teams but being involved in other activities expanded her horizons.
“I found a whole new group of friends,” Pingul said. “I was able to help my school. I found it very rewarding.”
Pingul also took an active role in helping to guide her teammates, especially on the basketball team, which included many younger players. Pingul enjoyed the challenge of helping to develop her teammates’ skills.
Often the best way to encourage them was to lead by example.
“Once they see how hard you work, they want to follow suit,” Pingul said. “Once they see how passionate you can be about something, it motivates the whole team to be the same.”
This spring Pingul returned to the tennis team after a two-year absence.
“I wanted to make the most of my senior year,” Pingul said. “It made me realize how much it takes to improve in a sport. I had to work hard to be one of the most improved players on the team.”
Pingul is undecided on whether she wants to continue her basketball career at Whitman College. She may attempt to walk-on to the team. Two possible avenues of study include science or international relations.
The Mountlake Terrace standout isn’t quite done with helping high school students yet. She’ll leave for training shortly in order to be an ASB camp counselor.
Wesley Dawn knows the value of preparation.
Well before the start of the 2009 season, Dawn was one of about 25 players who regularly hit the weight room and were doing everything they could to prepare for football.
That dedication was rewarded with the school’s best record in years and a state playoff berth.
“We didn’t have 50 or 60 guys. We had that core of guys who really wanted it,” said Dawn, an offensive lineman. “They were doing what it took. I knew it was going to be a special year.”
The biggest game of the season, a game that Mountlake Terrace needed to win in order to make the playoffs, was against a team the Hawks never had beaten – Kamiak.
“We knew what we were playing for,” Dawn said.
The emotions released by the victory are difficult for Dawn to describe but the feelings remain.
“It was just a release,” Dawn said. “We worked so hard. We finally achieved it. It was just very euphoric. It was a good feeling. It was really special.”
Dawn also excelled in track and field, where he was one of the Hawks’ top throwers. He advanced to districts in the discus for three straight years.
His football career came to an end in high school, but Dawn may continue throwing at Willamette University in Oregon.
Through his involvement in the two different sports, Dawn learned different ways to lead his teammates.
“I think I’m more of the type that leads by example,” he said. “But you have to lead in different ways with different people.”
Dawn also learned the impact individuals had on their teammates and the overall team.
“Sports taught me a lot of discipline,” he said. “It taught me commitment. … A lack of commitment and a lack of focus can hurt other people. I really learned the importance of things like commitment and taking pride in your work.”
The impact of last year’s winning season is carrying over to next year’s team. At the recent spring practices, the numbers for the football stayed steady after the second day. In past years, the numbers usually dropped noticeably.
“It’s a whole culture shift we’re trying to do with football,” Dawn said.
Football used to be regarded as a joke at Mountlake Terrace. But thanks to Dawn and his teammates that isn’t the case anymore.
“Seeing the results of that is pretty gratifying,” Dawn said.