SRRHS Feminine Athlete of the Yr: Mary Westervelt
Two of the most successful sports teams at Sedona Red Rock High School for the 2019-20 school year were the girls’ volleyball and basketball teams. The volleyball team made it to the state quarter-finals while the basketball team made it to the last 16. Senior Mary Westervelt was a key to both teams.
At the end of the volleyball season, Westervelt was named 2A Player of the Year in the Central Region and received the award for the entire 2A region of Arizona. As the basketball season came to an end, Westervelt – the only senior on a team that otherwise consisted entirely of freshmen and sophomores – was named the second all-region team. For her achievements on and off the ground, Sedona Red Rock News named Westervelt Sportswoman of the Year for Sedona Red Rock High School.
“Despite the obstacles I faced, I believe that I have overcome adversity and worked hard in the sport my whole life to reach the level I was at,” said Westervelt. “When people were on vacation and having fun, I was in the gym and invested extra time in the off-season to achieve my athletic goals.”
“I also think that my leadership and dedication to my teams have helped me become a better athlete and a better person,” she added. “And that these qualities have helped our Sedona teams get well into their season.”
Westervelt’s athletic achievements come despite a number of physical obstacles that she has had to overcome. This includes constant headaches, which she has dealt with for almost four years. Westervelt was also diagnosed with subluxation of her cervical spine, cervical osteoarthritis, and hypermobility.
Westervelt also had to deal with three knee surgeries, and a fourth is coming soon. She unknowingly played with a partially torn ACL for three years before she was finally diagnosed.
“These health issues made it difficult to keep exercising and my neurologist didn’t get me to play volleyball in my sophomore year,” said Westervelt. “Because of all of these health issues, I had to do physical therapy all the time to keep my exercise safe throughout my high school career.”
Despite the obstacles, Westervelt has a number of great memories from her time at SRRHS. In Westervelt’s second season, the Scorpions basketball team reached the state finals. Sedona defeated Page on the final night of the season to move up to # 1 in the state. In a quarterfinal win against Alchesay Westervelt scored 21 points and got 18 rebounds.
In volleyball, Westervelt remembered a trip to the Estrella tournament when she, her older sister Liza and another teammate found a kitten. They snuck the kitten back to their hotel room, kept it, and named it – appropriately enough – Estrella.
Another positive aspect for Westervelt was that her time on the ground was a family affair. In her first two years at Sedona, Westervelt played with Liza, who graduated in 2018. A senior at volleyball and basketball, Mary was a teammate of her younger sister, the newcomer Helen Westervelt. For their senior basketball season, the Scorpions were trained by their father, Kirk Westervelt.
“It was very special to play with my two sisters and to be trained by my father,” said Mary. “What’s cool is that my older and younger sister have different play styles and it’s always fun to beat up your siblings when you play in practice.
“With my father’s coaching, it really took it to a different level this season because you were in the basketball mood the whole time because we were still at home [practice]. My dad also trained me all my life and it was crazy to see all our hard work paying off. “
Westervelt’s legacy at Sedona Red Rock High School won’t just be what she and her teams accomplished in the sport. In her senior year, she was also president of the student body.
Outside of sports, Westervelt identified homecoming week and all that it entails as her best memories of high school.
“You really connect with your classmates and add to class rivalries over chants and homecoming events, and all week just brings out all the school spirit,” she said. “When the week comes, it’s the perfect storm. There are multiple sports games, big tests, lip syncing exercises, barely any sleep, dressing days and all of that brings out the craziness and what brings the school together. “
In the fall, Westervelt plans to attend Arizona State University, majoring in psychology with a minor in genetics or biology.
Westervelt hopes the class’ legacy of 2020 has inspired the school spirit, attending games and other off-campus activities. Regarding her personal heritage at SRRHS, Westervelt wants to be remembered as someone who worked hard and led others, both inside and outside of sport.
“I hope to be remembered as the person who gave her everything she did and who motivated others to drop out and make a change in school,” Westervelt said. “I hope that I have made a positive impact on everyone I have met and that they will remember me for doing things to make the world a better place.”