In December 2014, Mikaela Foecke secured her place in the history of high school sports in Iowa by being named the 2014-2015 Gatorade National Player of the Year. This made her the first athlete from Iowa to be so named, which occurred after she received the same honor at the state level earlier, as well as being named to USA TODAY’s elite ALL-USA team a week before.
Foecke led her high school team, the Fort Madison Holy Trinity Crusaders, to a 48-4 record, and to the Class 1-A Championship in November, which was Iowa’s first state title in any sport. She was also a key member of the USA Women’s Junior National Team, which won the gold medal at the NORCECA Women’s U20 Continental Championship.
In 2013, at the FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship in Thailand, Foecke was a major force and led her team to a silver medal. This was the first time any U.S. team had placed in the top three in world championship volleyball at the youth or junior level.
A Surprise Visitor
While taking a high school exam, Foecke was surprised with a visit from April Ross, who was herself awarded the Gatorade National Player of the Year for the school year 1999-2000 and who then went on to earn a silver medal for volleyball at the 2012 London Olympics. During her visit, Ross officially conferred the Player of the Year honor upon Foecke, and congratulated her on finishing her high school career with an impressive catalog of personal achievements.
During her volleyball career at Fort Madison Holy Trinity, Foecke amassed a state record of 2,813 kill shots, 812 of which came in the final championship season and led all state players. In addition, she had 270 digs, 170 service aces, and 95 total blocks during play to cap off an unbelievable season and a fantastic high school career.
At 6’3” in height and very athletic, Foecke has been an imposing presence as middle blocker on the Holy Trinity Crusaders team for most of her high school years.
“Foecke has been without peer for at least the past two years in a state currently top-heavy with elite volleyball talent,” says John Tawa, publisher of PrepVolleyball.com. “Although she plays ‘small-school ball,’ she’s a big-time performer, possessing the arm swing and power to dominate anywhere along the net, as well as the agility of a libero in a 6-3 body. Foecke can score against anyone at any time and could be an All-American performer early.”
Academic and Community Star
Foecke isn’t just a great athlete; her academic achievements are just as impressive as her on-court skills. She has maintained a 3.9 grade-point average in high school and has served on the Student Council each of her four years. She is also active in the community, as an officer in the Lee County chapter of the 4-H program and as a volunteer at the Tri-State Rodeo.
She also serves as a volunteer at Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and is an altar server at St. James Catholic Church. Besides all that, she contributes time to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Kids Against Hunger and the West Point city cleanup team. It might be difficult to see how she finds the time to give so much of herself to these various worthy causes, but somehow this young lady juggles them all and still achieves her main goals.
The Future for Foecke
In her post-high school plans, Foecke plans to play club volleyball through the winter of 2104-2015, and expects to try out for the U.S. National Team in February of 2015. She has been recruited by and has committed to playing collegiate volleyball at Nebraska, and hopes to play for the U.S. Olympic team at some point in the future.
Whatever else is included in her future, in terms of a profession or other athletic endeavors, Foecke plans to return to the small town in Iowa where she got her start.
“They say most people want to leave small town Iowa, but I love it,” says Foecke. “My dream is to come back here to live and stay. I love this community and I love the people. It’s something I’ll always carry with me. Right up until the time I come back.”