WHEATON – The ideal scenario for any coach is to have their best player also be a hard worker and great teammate.
And for the past four years, Wheaton Warrenville South coach Rob Kroehnke has lived that dream with Meghan Waldron on the court.
“She is the best player who works extremely hard on her game and pretty much gets joy from having her teammates be successful,” Kroehnke said. “That’s the bottom line with her.”
Waldron leaves the Tigers’ program as their most decorated player, having become both the all-time leading scorer and rebounder this winter.
“It’s probably been one of the most enjoyable things I have ever been a part of,” Waldron said of her high school career. “I grew up with a lot of the girls I played with at South and it was an incredible journey with them.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I was a little girl to play at Wheaton Warrenville South and it’s been a blessing to get that opportunity.”
More than her individual numbers, and those again were gaudy this winter with her per-game averages of 21.4 points and 8.8 rebounds, winning was the ultimate benchmark for the senior guard. In her four years on the court, the Tigers went 102-19 while capturing a quartet of DuPage Valley Conference championships.
“We didn’t like to lose,” Waldron said. “We like to win and we worked hard for it. It’s not like success is an accident, we worked hard all summer and we wanted the best for each other. It didn’t matter to us who got the most points or the most rebounds.”
That thirst for team success is what drove Waldron in the offseason.
“Over the summer, I always wanted to improve my game,” she said. “I wasn’t satisfied with how we finished, I always wanted us to do better. We had to continue our success in the DVC. And I wanted to improve myself, every year it got harder because people knew who you were. And my teammates all did the same thing.”
The guard’s continued improvement for the past four years wasn’t lost on her coach.
“Each year she got better,” Kroehnke said. “As good as she is, she kept working even harder and improved in every part of her game every year.”
For her part, Waldron is quick to credit her coaches and teammates.
“Coach Kroehnke has been so important for me,” the senior said. “I’ve known him for a while, I went to their camps when I was really little. For him to give me an opportunity to play, that is the best thing. And my teammates are my best friends, it was an honor to play with them. We never ever had a bad day, we never had drama. It was a great thing to be a part of, where everybody cared for each other.”
Soon the guard will have to introduce herself to a new set of teammates. Waldron will play at DePaul next season.
“I’m excited,” Waldron said. “It will be a lot different than high school, every girl is going to be very good and it’s a more physical game. I will have to prepare for that, but I’m excited for the next chapter, too.”
As for the program she leaves behind, Kroehnke will begin the impossible task of trying to fill the void left by Waldron.
“What she has done for this program overall,” Kroehnke said, “she left her mark and it will be around for a while.”