Fairbanks High School senior Megan Olson sends the ball down the field during a 2017 soccer game. Olson has been named to the Division III All-Ohio second team.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)
It was quite an athletic fall season for Fairbanks High School senior Megan Olson.
After having put in three solid seasons with the FHS girls soccer squad, Olson decided to double up on her sports endeavors during the recently-completed fall season.
Olson not only earned her fourth varsity letter in soccer, but also her first as a member of the Panther football team.
Olson decided last summer that she wanted to give the gridiron a try as a place-kicker.
There have been a few girls who have attempted to play high school football in Union County at other positions over the years.
Olson, though, is the first female place-kicker for an area school in recent memory and she made quite an impression on folks both inside and outside of Panther Nation.
She made Union County history last week when she was the first female to be named to the Central District first team in Division VI. As a first-team district honoree, Olson will be in consideration for All-Ohio honors in a couple of weeks.
Olson is the first high school girl to ever receive a recommendation for district gridiron honors from a local coach. She is also the first to ever stand head-and-shoulders above the rest of the kickers from a smaller-school division in the Central District.
She hit on all five of her field goal attempts for the year. All of her efforts came from between 23 and 35 yards.
Olson was accurate on 36 of her 39 extra point attempts and finished with 51 points.
The only other place-kicker nominated for district honors in Division VI was Kyle Kegley of Northmor. He was 39-of-48 on extra points and did not make a field goal.
On the soccer pitch, Olson tallied five goals and seven assists. For her varsity career, she notched 13 goals and 23 assists as a center defender.
She earned first-team accolades for the Central District in soccer this season, garnering the third most votes among candidates. She also earned first-team honors in the Ohio Heritage Conference.
To top off her soccer career, Olson learned on Saturday that she earned second team honors for Division III All-Ohio.
The award was presented by the Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association.
If she earns all-state honors down the road in football, she will be the first local athlete in recent memory to earn All-Ohio status in two sports during the same season.
“It is very difficult to get defenders named to all-district teams, usually because they do not have stats,” said Lady Panther coach Randy Spain. “Megan was a captain who led the team with solid leadership and play.
“Within the team, she was voted as defensive player of the year and MVP.”
“Megan was an outstanding kicker for our team this year,” said FHS grid boss Patrick Cotter.
“Being Megan’s first time kicking for a football team, you would expect her to be incredibly nervous, but you would never notice,” he said. “She was very calm and did her job like she had been kicking for years.
“Megan also handled our kickoffs for one game and was very upset when I told her she had to run off the field after she kicked. That’s because I did not want anything to jeopardize her soccer season,” said Cotter. “Her response to me was, ‘then how am I suppose to tackle someone if I have to run off the field?’
“Megan is a competitor and only wanted to do what would help the football team,” he said. “It was an honor to coach her this year and she has many young ladies in the Fairbanks school district practicing their kicking in the backyard, so they can be like her.”
Olson acknowledged that playing both soccer and football in the same year was quite hectic.
One can tell, however, that she would not have done anything differently.
“I had football practice and a soccer game sometimes on the same day,” she said. “I’d practice (football) until it was time for the soccer bus to leave for an away game or until it was time to warm up for a home game.
“It was a lot, but I had fun and it was definitely worthwhile,” said Olson. “I also made some new friends.”
Olson admitted that she felt a bit overwhelmed early in August when both sports began preseason practice.
“We had two-hour football practices and then three-hour soccer practices (before classes started for the year),” she said. “However, there really weren’t any drawbacks.
“I was able to play both sports and somehow get all of my schoolwork done.”
Now that the fall season has been completed, Olson is turning her attention to basketball, where she is a returning letter winner for the Lady Panther hoopsters.
After that will come track and field in the spring, where she will work on earning her fourth varsity letter of her senior year.
The conclusion of the track season in late May or early June may mean the end of Olson’s athletic career.
She plans on attending a four-year college to obtain a nursing degree.
Olson said she is not sure whether she will play soccer on the collegiate level.
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