Tower Hill senior strives to be role model

Three-sport athlete also is dedicated to academics, service
Lyons, 17, is an all-state athlete in three sports, a member of the National Honor Society, helped form a leadership service program at Tower Hill, volunteers for a wide range of service activities and received the Jefferson Leadership Award for leadership and public service in January.

"I'm not bragging or anything like that, I just like to do a lot of different things," said Lyons. "I like to be a leader and have a chance to be a role model. My role models have been my parents and my family. Their example set the bar and made me want to take on all these roles."

Lyons plays field hockey and lacrosse and runs track at Tower Hill. She has a chance to be a starter or letter winner on eight state champion Tower Hill teams. She has a GPA of about 3.70 and is recognized as a Tower Hill scholar with distinction.

"Meghan is a tremendous young lady and really fits into the motto of the school, multa bene facta [many things done well]," said Tower Hill athletic director Jack Holloway. "Meghan is not only a great athlete but is so involved in the school community inside and outside of Tower Hill. Her latest project was heading up the recent faculty-students 'Hoops for Habitat' basketball game. All the proceeds go to Habitat for America. Her community and school service is fabulous."

Meghan is following in the footsteps of her older brother Garrett, now a sophomore at the University of Virginia. Garrett, who excelled in baseball and soccer at Tower Hill, wasn't just an athlete either. He traveled to Beijing in the summer of 2007 as part of a cultural exchange program with Chinese students.

Meghan is the daughter of Dr. Garrett (Gary) B. Lyons, a Wilmington dentist, and Trish Lyons.

Lyons said there is no special formula or secret to why she has been successful on and off the athletic field.

"I'm committed to doing my very best at all times," said Lyons. "It's not that I want to be a star, but I want to be part of a [winning] team program. People naturally want to be good at what they do. My work ethic has to be there at all times. I have to give up the parties and some other weekend activities to have a chance to be successful in several areas. You must have respect for your body and stay physically and mentally strong."

Meghan's 8-year-old sister, Jane, even used her as a role model for a class project at Tower Hill Elementary School.

"Jane talked about how hard her sister worked and how much she admired her in a talk before her class," said Gary Lyons. "She told her classmates about Meghan's work ethic and how she gives up parties and other fun stuff to be the best she can be. That had an impact on ... our whole family."

Meghan was so excited about the University of North Carolina and Coach Karen Shelton's field hockey program that she made an early commitment to the program.

"I had been going to camps at Duke University since I was 12," said Meghan. "Beth Bosman was the coach at Duke, and I liked her as well. However, once I visited North Carolina, shook hands, gave my word to Coach Shelton and looked her in the eye, that was it. I am going to North Carolina."

While field hockey might be the sport she is most known for, her talents on the lacrosse field cannot be overlooked.

"She is composed with the ball. She has strong stick skills and is devoted to working very hard on her own to improve the level of her game," said Hillers lacrosse coach Wiz Applegate. "She is very disciplined. Meghan is also levelheaded in pressure situations and has earned the respect of her teammates."

That attitude carried over into the track season.

"Meghan was great for our team because she could do so many different things," said Steve Sinko, the boys and girls track coach. "This was my first year as indoor track coach, and I didn't even know Meghan before. She was just great. The biggest difference was that winning attitude and certain toughness from field hockey and lacrosse that with her was so impressive. She was very encouraging, did what she could to help the younger kids and worked tremendously hard."

Not everything is always in top form for Lyons, who became sick just before the State Indoor Track Championships in late February.

"Meghan literally had a medical emergency that turned out to be a kidney stone," said Sinko. "Normally, Meghan is very cheerful and up before an event, but just didn't look right. I asked her, 'Meghan are you all right?' and she said, 'No.' Next thing I know we only had three runners and Meghan had gone to the bathroom. She called her father down and they eventually had to take her to the hospital."

Lyons bounced back quickly and is primed to begin her final season of lacrosse with a fourth consecutive state title on her mind.

"We're going for four in a row just like we were able to do in field hockey," said Lyons. "I think it would be good to achieve one of our last goals as seniors. It would also be a great way for all of the seniors to go out. We came in as winners and we want to go out the same way. I think it would be something special for the underclassmen as well."

On Saturday, Lyons will take part in the Jefferson Awards for Public Service 5K Run and Walk at the Wilmington Riverfront. Individual and team pledges will go to the Garrett B. Lyons Sr. Fund for Delaware Youth Leadership Recognition that her father sponsors.

"Meghan is looked up to by peers and coaches alike," said Applegate. "... She set the bar very high, and the younger kids aspire to be like Meghan."

By Jack Ireland — The News Journal — April 2, 2009
Reprinted with Permission of The News Journal