Laker player profile: GVSU volleyball player Shannon Winicki
Being a redshirt freshman is not always easy. Sometimes there’s doubt put into an athlete’s mind. Other times, an athlete truly thrives.
Shannon Winicki, a junior for the Grand Valley State women’s volleyball team, was redshirted during her freshman year.
Being redshirted means an athlete is still considered part of the team, but they are ineligible to play in games. In most situations, redshirt athletes either deal with an injury or use the extra year to perfect their game in practices.
In Winicki’s case, she still traveled with the team, practiced with the team, even dressed for games, but she was not allowed to actually step onto the court.
“Shannon came in and had some pretty good experience, and we knew we wanted to use her,” said GVSU women’s volleyball head coach Deanne Scanlon. “There was a good deal of talent with the girls in her position already, so we thought it would be a good idea to let (Winicki) gain some experience both in the classroom and on the court.”
Winicki said she is glad she was redshirted as a freshman. She thinks it helped her transition into college-level volleyball.
Not only did it help her become better suited in the sport of volleyball, but it also helped her figure out what it would be like to be a student athlete without the stress of games every weekend. She was able to manage her time correctly and ultimately earned two All-Academic team honors her sophomore and junior years.
“It's all time management,” Winicki said. “Sometimes you’ll be on the bus and just want to sleep, but you have to make yourself do homework or study. It might make you a little more tired the next day in class, but that’s what you have to do.”
The discipline in classes for Winicki seems to transfer onto the volleyball court. Performance-wise, she finished fifth on the team last season in kills with 95, while adding on 28 digs and 22 blocks.
Scanlon spoke to how she is an all-around athlete, saying she is able to kill a ball in so many different ways that it’s really a sight to see.
This season, Winicki has shown that she is capable of big things. In the games against Cedarville and the University of Indianapolis, Winicki totaled 14 kills. Nine of those kills came from the Cedarville game and five from Indianapolis.
Both games were the only two regional games so far this season, and Winicki showed up to play—even more so than other games. Every season, Winicki is looking to the top.
“I say this every year, but I want to win a national championship," Winicki said. "I want to wear that ring. Obviously, it’s a big goal, but why not? Why not think big?”
“Shannon will try her hardest to accomplish anything she sets her mind to," said Kourtney Wolters, former teammate at GVSU and good friend of Winicki. "She always thinks big, as all athletes do.”
Winicki’s determination and big-picture thinking is how good athletes become great ones and how great ones become superstars.
Winicki will be in action Friday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. for the GVSU women’s volleyball home opener at the Fieldhouse Arena.