ELYRIA — On a team loaded with senior stars, Avon’s Gillian Romanchok never had trouble standing out on the volleyball court.
Tuesday she stood alone as the top senior in Lorain County when she was named Miss Volleyball.
Romanchok helped lead the Eagles to a Southwestern Conference championship and a 19-3 record this season. She’s a four-year letterwinner and was recently named as Lorain County’s Division I Player of the Year.
1985 Angie Riggins Elyria
1986 Jennifer Smith Midview
1987 Rebecca Yarish Elyria Catholic
1988 Monica Taylor Elyria
1989 Rosie Schneider Avon
1990 Amy Schloss Elyria
1991 Kearsten Yarish Elyria Catholic
1992 Marin Ferlic Lorain Catholic
1993 Becky Paukst Elyria West
1994 Jodie Williams Elyria
1995 Sarah Simmons Avon Lake
1996 Erinn Kingman Elyria
1997 Rachel Beran Firelands
1998 Jenn Snyder Elyria
1999 Jessy Verhoff Elyria
2000 Laura Sidorowicz Amherst Steele
2001 Lisa Verhoff Elyria
2002 Courtney Gilbert Midview
2003 Mel Snyder Amherst Steele
2004 Kate Verhoff Elyria
2005 Kelly Ruth Elyria
2006 Ashley Yuhas Elyria
2007 Courtney Jarvis Amherst Steele
2008 Amanda Medvetz Elyria
2009 Zoe Zwegart Elyria Catholic
2010 Deme Morales Amherst Steele
2011 Sarah Kaminski Elyria Catholic
2012 Whitney Craigo Avon Lake
2013 Katie Mihalik Avon Lake
2014 Elizabeth Zollos Avon
2015 Ashley Makruski Amherst
2016 Jessie Lee Elyria
2017 Erin Gardner Avon
2018 Gillian Romanchok Avon
“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and the support of my coaching staff,” Romanchok said. “At the beginning of the season, I just wanted to leave everything on the court and set a good example for the underclassmen and just really make a mark on this program.”
The award, sponsored and given by Burger King, was awarded to Romanchok by Betty Hanson, director of training. Burger King has sponsored the award for the entire 33 years of its existence.
Romanchuk is the fourth Miss Volleyball from Avon and the second in a row. Defensive specialist Erin Gardner took home the award a year ago. Rosie Schneider (1989) and Elizabeth Zollos (2014) are the others.
The award is given to the Lorain County senior who has high scholastic ratings, outstanding volleyball ability, displays good sportsmanship and has the ability to play college volleyball.
Romanchok checks all the boxes.
Not only does she have a 3.5 GPA, on the court she never left the floor for the Eagles, compiling 211 kills, 158 digs and 18 aces. She also had a 92.8 serve-reception percentage and even had 10 assists.
“She wasn’t even all-conference last year,” Avon coach Julie Bendzuck said. “This year she was Player of the Year in (the Southwestern Conference), Player of the Year in the county, Miss Volleyball … I hope she’s as proud of herself as I want her to be. That doesn’t come with just hard work. You have to give 110 percent. She was outstanding on our team this year.”
Bendzuck has built Avon into a perennial power. The Eagles were rated 14th in the state in Division I going into the tournament but lost to Magnificat in the district semifinals. The Blue Streaks lost in the regional final to Padua.
“I feel every year the kids become more motivated,” Bendzuck said. “Not just team success but striving to be the best individual they can. (Today Gillian) signs her letter of intent to play college. I remember when she came in the gym her freshmen year — she was ready.”
Romanchok began playing in the third grade and will continue her volleyball career at Clarion University in Pennsylvania. She was recruited as an outside hitter for the Division II program. She wants to study athletic training.
“For her to receive the award is showing it pays off to work hard and to be passionate about a game,” Bendzuck said. “It’ll take her far in life — not just in volleyball.”
“I have a lot of seniors who could be playing in this all-star match and in some year could have been up for that award. With Gillian, she was all-around one of our most solid players. She played front row, back row for us and the wee-end when she didn’t play (sickness), we fell apart.”
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