Dutch Ava Wiltz takes on sports and academics with a focus on mental health
Posted at 12:36 a.m. on Thursday, September 15, 2022
It’s not uncommon to find a student-athlete who can give maximum effort on the field or in the classroom. It’s not even uncommon to find one that can do both well.
It is, however, rare to find a student-athlete who has been first-team all-district in multiple sports, salutatorian of the senior class, and finds the time to attend leadership conferences and pursue hobbies in outside of school.
Dutch senior Ava Wiltz has a resume that many would love to have.
Despite her superhero accomplishments on the field and in the classroom, the way she handles her very human moments might be what really separates her from her peers.
Like any sport, time management is something Wiltz has practiced for several years.
“My time management is very different from what it was in my freshman year,” she said. “There was once, I didn’t sleep a night. I went to school and stayed up all night doing my homework. I had a tournament and I had to hand in stuff the next day. I put a lot before my happiness. School is great to put first, but you have to be able to put yourself first and give yourself a 10 or 20 minute break. You need to focus on small things that make you happy.
Wiltz has learned to trust himself and slept more over the past year and has changed.
This year, Wiltz is playing volleyball and plans to play basketball and track running later this college year. Usually at this point in the calendar, Wiltz has already competed in several cross-country meets, but has decided to postpone his participation until this week.
“It’s not always easy to balance everything,” she said. “This year, I took a step back from cross-country. It’s probably my best sport, but I had to take time for myself. It’s my favorite sport, but mentally, I wasn’t there. I’m not afraid to admit it now, as much as when I started. (Wednesday was) my first day back in training.
Wiltz said people need to listen to their bodies and understand their limits.
“You can push the limits, but you also have to know when it’s unhealthy,” she said. “I know I can push my body, but I also know when to stop.”
That clarity was hammered home this summer when Wiltz developed unhealthy sleeping habits due to a drive to succeed.
“This summer I struggled with some things and even went to counseling for help,” she said. “Just talking about it helps you realize where you are at. I knew I wasn’t in a good place with everything I was doing. run, but I removed the running aspect and it helped me a lot.
Part of the reason Wiltz needed to step back was due to his competitive nature.
“We do on-court conditioning for volleyball,” Wiltz said. “My friend Sydney (Nelson) will say I can go first. I tell him I want to go second and see where we are so I can finish first. It’s little things like that. I am competitive on everything.
Wiltz’s talents don’t stop at the school gate. She has several instruments at home and enjoys playing, especially her drums.
Next year, Wiltz plans to travel to Colorado Springs, where his brother lives, to pursue a career and attend college. During the summer, she went to visit her brother and followed him as a paramedic to the legendary venue The Red Rocks.
“Going to Colorado was the best part of my summer and probably the best thing I did in high school,” she said. “…My brother works on these kinds of events all the time. It was also cool to see the different aspects of people’s lives. Denver is very different from the Netherlands. It’s really big. It changed my perspective on how I live now, just going to that concert.
Wiltz plans to enroll in a class her brother teaches to become an EMT and wants to major in nutrition psychology or try to pursue her passion of being a director.
“I love movies and everything about movies,” she said. “I really like the action.”
Head volleyball coach Ally Crommett says Wiltz is the ideal student-athlete.
“For her, her studies will always come first,” she said. “That doesn’t mean she won’t put 110% here. She’s just really good at taking care of it. That says a lot about her and her work ethic. Some people are good at one or two things. Being good at five, six and seven things is so rare.
Women’s basketball coach Jody Walker praised Wiltz’s ability to go all out.
“I’ve had her since she was a freshman,” he said. “She was the same way in the classroom. She is the same competitive child. Once in a while you see a child like that. It’s kind of like those special athletes you come across from time to time. She’s just a phenomenal kid all around. It’s a blessing to be with her. »