Carrie Monnes Sheehan felt like a superstar.
Growing up in Norwalk, volleyball had long become a way of life by the time the 1995 NHS graduate reached high school. But as a dominant hitter in 1993, Monnes found herself playing an integral role on one of the greatest teams in the history of the Ladies in Blue program.
After an All-Ohio career and program record holder at Norwalk, Monnes went on to do the same at Division I Wright State University.
Her career has put Monnes Sheehan as one of the seven members of this Saturday’s Norwalk High School Hall of Fame induction.
A dinner and banquet to honor this year’s class will be held at the Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center at 5 p.m. Saturday prior to the boys’ basketball home game vs. Huron. Tickets will cost $15 for the dinner and banquet, and can be purchased from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the NHS athletic office.
This year’s other inductees are Bill Albright (athletic), Dave Ballard (distinguished), Chris Bleile (athletic), Dr. Virginia Showers Ingram (academic), Jess Gerken Miron (athletic) and Tim Sommer (athletic).
The 1993 Ladies in Blue finished 20-0 in the regular season, then went on to become the first team in program history to reach the Div. II state semifinals. The team finished 26-1 and finished as the OHSVCA state poll champions.
“It was pretty surreal, and almost shocking to see how much the town got behind us when we made state,” Monnes said. “Just to have the realization that this many people cared about us and what we were doing was amazing. It made us feel like superstars.”
Monnes was the program leader in blocks in a match, season and career when she graduated from Norwalk in 1995 — and was one of a select few from the Ladies in Blue program to earn All-Ohio first team honors in Div. II.
Norwalk won Northern Ohio League titles in each of her three seasons as a starter, finishing 62-9 overall in that span.
She finished with the best kill percentage, 47 percent in 1993 and 49 percent in 1994, that were both program records at the time. She finished with the record for most blocks in a season with 134 in 1993, and her 11 blocks vs. Bucyrus in the same season also tied a program mark.
In the state semifinal match vs. Cincinnati St. Ursula in 1993, Monnes finished with 11 kills.
She was selected to the All-NOL team in both 1993 and 1994, and was second team District 6 in 1993 and first team in 1994 — which led to the All-Ohio first team honors.
“A huge part of the credit goes to Coach (Grace) Hutchinson, and I don’t even know if I can explain how — but she just knew how to get us all on the same page and work as a single unit,” Monnes said of her coach. “But beyond that, we were all friends who wanted each other to succeed.
“I’m sure that’s true with a lot of teams in a lot of years,” she added. “But between the talent that happened to be there and the ability to work together as a team so easily was a huge part of it. Everyone was an equal contributor.”
At Wright State, Monnes still ranks in the top 10 in career accomplishments in 12 different categories.
She was named to the All-Midwest Collegiate Conference Freshman team in 1995 as the Raiders went 23-10. Through 2017, she ranks third and fourth all-time in WSU history for block assists in a match, and her 131 block assists in a single-season (1995) is good for fourth all-time.
Her 174 blocks in 1995 led the MCC, and ranks 12th-best in WSU history. She also led the MCC in blocks (149) in the 1997 season.
In 1998, Monnes finished with 454 kills, which also led the MCC, and is eighth all-time at WSU. She also finished with 28 kills in a single match twice, good for sixth in WSU program history.
For her efforts, she was named All-MCC first team and was voted the Wright State team MVP for the 1998 season.
In her career accomplishments, Monnes ended with 1,385 kills, fifth all-time at the school. Her 162 solo blocks and 392 block assists are both fourth all-time.
The MCC was renamed the Horizon League in 2002. Monnes ranks fifth and sixth in league history for blocks and block assists in a career. Her 554 total blocks in a career was a league record at the time, and still ranks second today.
“I didn’t realize the records that I even had, so looking back now, it’s surprising and gratifying,” Monnes said. “I was lucky enough to have the talent and the opportunities to even play in college. And again, that speaks a lot to Coach Hutch.
“She helped me get my demo tapes out and was real instrumental in encouraging me to go that direction, along with my parents,” she added. “I don’t know that I would have thought it out, otherwise. Looking back now, it’s crazy to still be high on those lists.”
Monnes graduated from WSU in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in English. She spent two years as a substitute teacher while also coaching freshman and junior varsity volleyball at Centerville.
She married Chris Sheehan in 2005, and the couple has two daughters, Lainey, 8, and Sybil, 3. Today, she is a stay-at-home mother and volunteers at her daughter’s school in Lakewood.
Being close, yet away from Norwalk has given Monnes Sheehan an appreciation for her hometown and school.
“It’s a small town, but at the same time my experiences in college and as an adult showed me how tight knit of a community it really was,” she said. “I think that had a lot to do with the support we all received. Norwalk is unique in that way that you never feel like you’re on your own.
“Someone always knows someone that knows you, and there is something to be said about Norwalk and that aspect of a small town,” Monnes added.