Burmeister reflects on stellar high school career

"My parents have been my biggest support system and they push me to my limits." -Shay Burmeister, Exira-EHK Senior

Exira-EHK Senior Shay Burmeister is a multi-sport athlete who has played golf, softball, volleyball and basketball for the Spartans during her high school career. Of the four sports, Burmeister gravitates to one more than the others.

“I would say my favorite is basketball, because of the atmosphere,” Burmeister said. “It’s so much fun to play in front of big crowds that get into it. It’s such a fast paced game and it gets really intense at times, and I love that part about it.”

Burmeister’s passion for sports began at a young age, playing basketball when she was in elementary school.

“I think I started playing basketball competitively when I was in first grade,” she said. “I always played up with the older girls and I found that to be lots of fun.”

The passion Burmeister developed for basketball led to a stellar career in high school, where she scored over 800 points, including taking her team to state two of the four years she played, and reaching the Regional Final game her senior season, where she led the Spartans in scoring with 19 points.

“My favorite memory is definitely going to state my sophomore and junior year,” she added. “The experience I got to be a part of was unforgettable, and the nights in the hotels are so much fun with my teammates.”

Burmeister was coached by Tom Petersen, during her basketball career. He has had an impact on her and holds a strong relationship with her on-and-off the court.

“There are no words to describe how much of an impact coach Petersen has made, not only on my athletic career, but in my life,” Burmeister said. “I have known coach Petersen my whole life and he is like a second dad to me. Being able to be coached by him and his knowledge has been such an honor. I’ve learned so much about life from him through the game of basketball, and I’m just very grateful for that.”

Burmeister has had success in other sports as well, including softball. She had the fourth highest batting average at .385 her junior season, driving in 17 runs, with 30 hits and 25 runs scored. She helped lead the team to a 22-win season.

Andrea Schwery, head coach of the softball team, is someone who Burmeister has enjoyed playing for.

“Coach Schwery has been so much fun to play for,” Burmeister said. “She is young and has lots of knowledge of the game, and it’s just an absolute blast on the field.”

Like basketball, Burmeister developed a passion for softball at a young age. Her mom, Lisa, played softball, and her dad, Shane, played baseball, during their college days while attending Grandview in Des Moines. Burmeister credits them for their love and passion, which she felt was passed down to her.

“Both of my parents started playing in college and I believe I started playing that when I was about 7-years-old,” Burmeister said. “Their love for the game was handed down to me and I’m forever grateful for that as well.”

Derek Reischauer, became the new Spartan head volleyball coach this season. Burmeister only played for him during her senior season, but is grateful for the vibe and energy he brought to the team.

“I only played under coach Reischauer for a year, but the intensity he brought to the sport of volleyball was amazing,” she said. “We aren’t known to be a volleyball school, but his coaching in future years will turn that around.”

During her final season of volleyball, the team finished with an 11-22 record, but Burmeister led the team in multiple categories with 153 kills and 259 digs.

The passion for volleyball started when she was in middle school and she was eager to get on the court and play.

“I started playing volleyball in sixth grade,” Burmeister said. “I thought it was super cool watching the high school girls smack the ball super hard, and I remember I told myself that I wanted to be able to do that.”

Following the conclusion of her high school days, Burmeister plans to attend college, but won’t play sports.

“I do not plan to play any sports in college, although I thought about it. I just want to focus on my schooling,” she said. “I will be attending UNI to major in communication sciences and disorders.”

Burmeister comes from a strong family background, who she gives credit to for her success in athletics.

“I come from a really close and loving family,” she said. “My parents have been my biggest support system and they push me to my limits. They believed in me more than I believed in myself, so having that support behind me has been so special.”

Many kids that play sports in high school usually look up to a professional athlete for inspiration. However, Burmeister draws inspiration from her relatives, who have all had successful careers.

“I know most people look up to professional or college athletes, but I really look up to my cousins, brother and sister,” Burmeister said. “They have all been so successful in their careers, and I just admire everything they’ve done to pave the path for me to follow in their footsteps.”

Sports can teach athletes a lot about life, and Burmeister can take plenty away from the lessons sports has taught her.

“Playing sports has taught me hard work, determination, grit, respect and responsibility,” Burmeister added. “One of my biggest life lessons I have learned is probably how to overcome adversity, because things don’t always go as planned, and I believe the most important part is how you approach the situation.”

Given these lessons Burmeister has learned, she feels she can offer something to kids that are the future of Spartan sports.

“I would like to give some advice to younger kids,” she said. “If you have a chance to participate in school activities, definitely do so. You might find new passions, and all the memories you will make in that time is so worth it.”

Even with her high school days nearing the end, the legacy and impact Burmeister has had on Exira-EHK will never be forgotten.



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