Sometimes, you get a call out of the blue. For Alison Lock, she got a call out of the maize and blue – one that certainly could change her life for the next four years.
Lock, a standout water polo player at Skyline HS, had opportunities to continue playing the game she loves and was looking at a number of different schools outside the state. But she put her education first and decided Michigan would be the best choice for her future even if it meant playing water polo for the club team.
Then, the phone rang.
“The Michigan water polo coach just called and asked me to be on his incoming freshman class, so I will be playing water polo at Michigan next year,” said Lock earlier this month. “I initially was being recruited by and considering playing on the east coast, but I decided to attend the University of Michigan. I am thrilled by the opportunity to play on the U-M water polo team. It’s a prestigious program and I feel very fortunate to be included.”
Michigan was a “lock” once that phone rang.
“Michigan is also an ideal place for me for my pre-med aspirations,” she says. “I have already participated in a pulmonary lab, which I plan to continue working in, and look forward to exploring new areas. Additionally, it will be nice to be so close to my family.”
Lock has been a standout in the water for the Eagles during her career. She was All-State as a sophomore and First Team All-State, All-Region MVP and All-American last season as a junior. She also was selected for participation in Olympic Development Program national championships for three consecutive years.
Lock also was voted both offensive and defensive MVP for the Eagles last season.
“Ali is one of our most well-rounded players and one of the top offensive threats in the state with her killer shot, but also our No. 1 center defender,” said Skyline Coach Rebecca Godek. “She truly sets the tone for our games.”
And then there are her contributions out of the water.
“As a second-year captain, she truly has been a great leader and role model for those around her,” Godek said. “It has been so great to watch Ali progress as a more confident player over the years. Even though our time together was cut short, I look forward to following and supporting her down the road.”
The Skyline water polo team was coming off a “special” year last season and was looking forward to getting back in the water this spring.
“As a team, we had a great dynamic,” Lock said of last season’s Skyline team. “Everyone had an important role and knew just how to fill it. Having a small team enabled us to develop ample trust along with deep friendships, which was a critical component in our achievement of a top-five finish at states.”
This year, they had set their sights even higher than top five.
“This season, we believed we had the potential to compete for a state championship, which had us all very excited,” she said. “There were players from beginners to seniors, who were already making great strides with their skills, which was so much fun to see.”
Skyline also was the host site for the State finals.
“We were going to host States this year with the potential to bring in our whole community,” Lock said.
The world changed in early March and it’s been a difficult adjustment and challenge for everyone. But Lock has been handling things well, focusing on what she can control.
“The current pandemic is quite nerve racking to me and I have been faced with some disappointments because of it, the largest being the loss of our high school water polo season,” she said. “Although not ideal, I’m grateful that this has been my most substantial misfortune. I am spending much of my time partaking in hobbies that I otherwise would not have had time to do, mainly including reading, but also painting, baking and gardening.
“Unfortunately, I am unable to access a pool, which means I am not able to train in ways ideal for water polo, but work out with my sister who is a collegiate swimmer. I definitely miss school and friends, however am I am enjoying time with my family, and taking the time to independently learn about the subjects that most interest me.”
Lock’s sister, Emily, is a student-athlete at Williams College.
Alison, who was an All-State swimmer (breaststroke) for four years for Skyline, also will miss her chance to be a senior captain of the Eagles.
“Being a captain last year was a very special experience where I think I grew significantly as a person and leader,” she said. “My goal is to lead by example by displaying a good work ethic and love for the sport, be a positive contributing force to the environment of our team, and be someone that my teammates are able to come to whether it be to discuss water polo or unrelated topics.”
The daughter of Lynn Joynt and Terry Lock, Alison had a 3.99 GPA and was a member of NHS, DECA, Science Olympiad and Special Olympics. And even though her high school career was cut short, she leaves behind plenty to be proud of during her years at Skyline.
“I think that in particular, in my sophomore year, I had a lot of growth, not only in the water, but as a person thanks to this sport and team,” she says. “I feel that I was able to develop my leadership skills and confidence, which I have been able to implement into a myriad of aspects in my life.”
Photos by Pasi Kaipainen