Often it is the talented senior and junior athletes at Orcas High School that stand out first for their skill. Yet there are gifted underclassmen who deserve equal recognition as rising stars in the athletic program, for these are the students who represent the future of OHS sports. Maia Lewis-Shunk, a freshman playing soccer, basketball, and golf this year, is already a recognized figure from the fall and winter sports seasons due to her skill that matches that of an upperclassmen. Those who don’t know her personally most likely have seen her play for the girls’ varsity basketball team during the recent season. Anyone who has seen Lewis-Shunk play will not deny that her speed and ability mark her as a valuable and prominent player.
Lewis-Shunk began playing sports at a young age. At four years old she started playing soccer for the Lil’ Kickers program in Seattle. In fourth grade she was on a city team, where she remained until she moved to the island and began playing in seventh grade for Orcas Middle School. This year she joined the OHS girls’ team, but unfortunately suffered a concussion that prevented her from playing for much of the season. What she enjoys most about soccer is the aspect of participating on a team.
As for basketball, Lewis-Shunk explains that she used to “mess around with basketball” from a young age but wasn’t on a team. When she joined a team as a third-grader she played with fourth and fifth graders, a sign that her skill was above her age level. Lewis-Shunk continued this path until she joined the Orcas Middle School girls’ team, where she stood out for her talents. However, this year her basketball career has really taken off with her spot on the high school varsity team, where her talent has been utilized to its full extent. She considers playing varsity basketball to be a good experience because she can keep learning and improving. Lewis-Shunk finds basketball to be a stress reliever, and what she enjoys most about the sport is the flow, competition, and aggression, as well as her teammates. “When we play our game, I love how we get into a flow and it is unbreakable,” Lewis-Shunk said.
Golf has also been a long-standing part of Lewis-Shunk’s life. She started playing on a team at six years old, and hasn’t stopped since. Last year, in eighth grade, she played golf for OHS, and was skilled enough in middle school to go to state. According to Lewis-Shunk, she placed “either ninth or 10th” in state. She explains that she had high hopes for the season and was happy to make it that far. “Overall, it was a great experience.” What she appreciates about golf is setting goals for herself. If last season is any indicator, there is no doubt that Lewis-Shunk will meet or exceed her goals for this season.
What drove Lewis-Shunk to continue sports after starting at a young age was her love of competition and teamwork. She expresses that she is a naturally competitive person, and sports are good for this quality. “I love how competitive it is,” Lewis-Shunk said. The team aspect of sports was a pull factor when she was younger, and remains to be. She likes how her teams, particularly basketball, have “their own game”. When playing a sport, Lewis-Shunk strives to maintain good sportsmanship. She sets new goals for herself and likes to go all out.
As for the future, Lewis-Shunk plans to continue with sports throughout all of high school. Although plans for after high school are not set, she still knows that she would like to play basketball or golf in college, her top two favorite sports. But for now, there is no doubt whatsoever that she will be a wonderful asset to OHS sports teams for the next four years, simply for her pure athletic talent and team spirit. Freshmen like Lewis-Shunk ensure continued success for the Vikings in future years.