by Bob San
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
For Phillis Webb, playing volleyball, basketball and running track for Osseo High was a way of life in the past five years. She ended her brilliant career this June at the state track meet and looked back fondly at her experience.
“Volleyball is the fun sport, basketball is the hard sport and track is the suicide sport,” said Webb. “If I didn’t like them I would not have done them. All three sports are mentally and physically draining but they are worth it.”
She does have her favorite and it may surprise people. “Volleyball,” said Webb, who is attending Eastern Michigan University on a full basketball scholarship this fall.
Webb admits she still knows little about the game of volleyball but she loves the unique camaraderie and joy volleyball players share.
“It is so different,” said Webb. “Track is a team sport but from what I did last year it’s like me and the other girls. Basketball is a team sport but I want to be perfect. Volleyball is my favorite sport because everybody is so happy. Volleyball is fun because everybody is so amped up and they are excited when they get a kill or a dig.”
Webb’s favorite volleyball memory came in a match against Maple Grove. A Crimson hit a spike that appeared to be a certain winner and the Crimson started to celebrate. But Webb dove, stuck her arm out and dug the ball over the net. The ball landed in bound and Osseo won the point and went on to win the match.
“It was amazing. The seniors were happy because they never lost to Maple Grove,” Webb recalled.
Webb and the Orioles shared success on the court too as they advanced to the section final before losing to highly-ranked Blaine in her senior year.
Basketball is Webb’s ticket to a free college education and she enjoyed great successes with the Orioles. They won three straight conference championships in her sophomore, junior and senior seasons and Osseo went to state in her final two seasons, finishing second in 2012 and fourth in 2013. She earned numerous all conference and two all-state tournament awards.
“We went to state twice,” Webb said. “To experience something not everyone gets to experience was great.”
As successful Webb was in basketball, she achieved even greater heights in track. She earned many all-conference, all-section and all-state awards and holds the school records in the 100, 200, 400, 4×200 and 4×400. Her victory in the 200-meter dash and her showings in the 200 and 400 meter dashes in this year’s state meet made Webb the most medaled trackster in Osseo school history, surpassing another Osseo track great Anuli Okonkwo.
Webb was thrilled and surprised to beat Hopkins’ Taylor Anderson for the 200 state title, but her fondest memory was last season when she teamed up with Okonkwo, Brieanna Puckett and Morgan Bialke to win the state 4×200 relay in an all-time state record time.
“We all love each other and it felt great that I didn’t let my team down,” Webb said. “It was great to see them so happy and that they had made it. They were crying with tears of joy. Anuli and Morgan had been doing it for so long and they probably had the same mental aspect that they didn’t think they could make it so far. But we won and we had the state record.”
The two state titles helped soothe the aches and pains Webb endured in track.
“I called track suicide sport because I got hurt so many times in track — stressed fractures, shin splints,” Webb said. “It’s a mental thing. Your body is aching but you want to win and you are out on the track. It hurts physically but mentally it helps you a lot. I did track to get in shape for basketball. I got good outcome from track. I don’t regret it at all.”
Osseo track and field coach Cullen DeVries was sure glad Webb stuck with the sport.
“Phillis has been a three-sport athlete her entire Osseo career. There are few athletes that can claim a three-sport status and excel the way Phillis has in all areas,” DeVries said. “Phillis is an outstanding athlete and competitor. She has committed herself to being a student-athlete in her time at Osseo. She is a reliable person both on the track and in the other parts of life. The Eastern Michigan University basketball program is getting an individual who will work hard to make herself a better student-athlete. The Osseo community will miss Phillis in the sports arenas and in the classroom.”
Webb is the epitomy of a good student-athlete. In addition to her accomplishments on the court and track, Webb was also an ‘A’ honor student her entire senior year.
“I am very proud of that because I didn’t think I could do that,” Webb said. “But I just worked hard, kept my heads in the book and got the outcome I wanted. I got rewarded and I got my yellow tassel when I graduated.”
Bill Quan was Webb’s volleyball coach and has coached for many years at Osseo. He said the only other athlete he could think of who was as versatile as Webb was 2003 graduate Holly Price, another volleyball, basketball and track and field standout. Quan added that Webb is more than a great athlete, but also a great student and person.
“Everybody sees Phillis the great athlete but what they don’t see is Phillis in the classroom and school, the great leader she is and the great person she is with the little kids in the volleyball camp,” Quan said. “That great athlete is always there but Phillis is the type of person that everybody will fall in love with once they get to know her.”
Webb, who received the Athena Award as the school’s best senior female athlete, was grateful for the opportunity to compete in three different sports with many wonderful teammates and coaches in a great school.
“I am blessed that I am the female athlete with the most medals in track and honored that I got to play and run for a great organization like Osseo High School,” she said. “A chapter closes and another is about to open for me in college.”
Webb is going to Eastern Michigan on a basketball scholarship but she does not rule out playing other sports.
“I am there for basketball but if I get done early enough I might go out for volleyball just because I love it so much,” Webb said.
What about track?
“My mind is made up. I am going to stay focused and take care of business (school and basketball),” Webb said. “But you never know. The future holds new things. You might hear about me running track.”
Contact Bob San at firstname.lastname@example.org