Charlie Obaugh RV & Outdoor Center Student Athlete of the Week: Summer Wallace

Published: Feb. 13, 2023 at 11:10 AM EST
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - Summer Wallace is a six-time state champion on the track and a possible valedictorian at Riverheads High School.

“My family has gone here and stuff and I really like the message of this school. I just hope to have embodied what the school tries to represent and just to be remembered as someone that worked hard and always tried to be encouraging to my teammates and be kind to people,” said Wallace, a senior at Riverheads.

Wallace started racking up medals in track when she was a sophomore. Over her high school career, she has won state championships in the High Jump, Pole Vault, 400m, 500m, and twice in the Long Jump.

“It’s always good to have that superstar on your team. I think it gives the other kids some confidence to look forward to and helps them work better. She’s just a good example, to be a state champion you’ve got to have that commitment and work ethic,” said Jeremy Heizer, Indoor Track Head Coach at Riverheads.

Wallace also holds the Riverheads school record in the High Jump.

“Track has a lot of high moments and low moments especially doing a lot of the technical field events. So I’d say just that perseverance, some days are not good but you just have to keep pushing through and eventually, you’ll see the payoff,” said Wallace.

Wallace’s father is a track coach at Riverheads and both her parents graduated from the school. She said she began running at an early age.

“I started running when I was probably around seven. I started running with my dad and we would come up here and be on the track, then when I was about eight we started doing long jump and then around nine or ten I started doing high jump,” she said.

Jeremy Heizer has been the Indoor Track Head Coach at Riverheads for two years and said that having Wallace on his team has been a big help.

“She’s actually taught me a lot of stuff. Being able to coach somebody that is a state champion has helped me a lot in being able to teach the kids that come behind her,” he said.

In school, Wallace takes multiple college-level courses and attends the Shenandoah Valley Regional Governor’s School. She currently ranks atop her senior class with an astounding 4.5 GPA.

“Summer is an excellent student. She’s got a great work ethic, she is a kid that demonstrates incredible critical thinking skills. She’s always going to do a top-notch job on everything she turns in, she will always be one of the top students in the class, she’s probably one of the best students I’ve had,” said David Moody, a Biology and Chemistry Teacher at Riverheads.

Wallace is in a position to be the valedictorian of her class if she finishes out the school year strong. She said that has always been a goal of hers and that taking high-level classes has made a big difference for her.

“I’ve always loved having more challenging classes so I think enjoyment is an important part of being in those. It really just takes a lot of drive and a lot of wanting to be there because it is a lot of extra work,” she said.

Outside of school Wallace is very involved in her church and did ballet for 15 years. She has also been a member of the student council and is currently the president of the National Honor Society and the Key Club at Riverheads.

“We do a lot of donation drives, we serve at the mission, we’ve done bake sales, we did a project for Operation Christmas Child filling the shoe boxes. So I’ve helped spearhead a lot of those projects and it’s really good to be able to serve the community,” she said.

David Moody has known Wallace nearly all her life and taught her parents when they were at Riverheads. He said that it has been fun to watch her become the young woman that she has.

“You can look at her as an athlete and say ‘wow she’s pretty impressive’ or you could go to the ballet and watch her dance and you would say ‘wow she’s pretty impressive’ or you could see her as a student with this 4.5 GPA and say ‘wow she’s pretty impressive’,” he said.

Wallace plans to run track in college and hopes to become a teacher. As she prepares to graduate in the spring she hopes to inspire other girls to follow in her footsteps.

“Being one of the women here that have been very successful in sports I hope to help encourage other girls to try to do well in school and sports and anything else they are doing. I have just really enjoyed my time being an athlete and a student here,” she said.