Diagnosis doesn’t define Mazour

Marshalltown senior Regan Mazour named T-R’s All-Area Player of the Year

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown High School senior outside hitter Regan Mazour poses next to a picture of her playing volleyball inside the Roundhouse. Mazour has been named the Times-Republican’s All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year for the third year in a row, a first in the award’s 14 years.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • Marshalltown High School senior outside hitter Regan Mazour poses next to a picture of her playing volleyball inside the Roundhouse. Mazour has been named the Times-Republican’s All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year for the third year in a row, a first in the award’s 14 years.

There is a rare group of high school volleyball players that can claim to have over 1,000 kills and digs in their career.

Marshalltown senior Regan Mazour, this year’s choice for the Times-Republican Area Volleyball Player of the Year, joined that club this season as she finished her time playing for the Bobcats with an impressive 1,161 kills and 1,205 career digs. She was also named to her fourth all-CIML Iowa Conference first team recently, her second-straight unanimous selection, and she earned an Iowa Girls Coaches Association Class 5A All-State honorable mention for a third-straight year.

What makes those feats even more incredible is what Mazour has gone through to get those staggering numbers. The entire time Mazour played for MHS, she persevered through a condition known as Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, also known as POTS.

“Your heart beats excessively and unnecessarily fast with changes in position, leading to symptoms of light-headedness, blurry vision, dizziness, weakness, nausea, and can even lead to fainting,” said Eric Reynolds, a board certified pediatrician and pediatric chief resident at University of New Mexico’s Children’s Hospital, who did three months of clinical training at Marshalltown’s McFarland Clinic. “We’ve all had times where we stand up too fast and get a little dizzy. Living with POTS is like having that happen routinely throughout the day with even minor changes in position.”

Reynolds said the condition mostly affects women ages 14-45, but that skews heavily toward the younger end. It’s characterized by too little blood returning to the heart when moving from lying down to a standing position, or other changes of elevation.

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Mazour said she started dealing with the symptoms of POTS as early as her eighth-grade year, yet it took doctors a while to pinpoint what was causing her issues.

“It took a long time to be diagnosed, which was hard not knowing what I had,” she said. “The blood doesn’t reach my brain fast enough when I change positions, so my body compensates by passing out.”

Mazour said once she finally was diagnosed her sophomore year, she was both relieved at knowing what was the issue but also disheartened, as her case of POTS wasn’t like others.

“I didn’t want to exercise at first, I used to pass out every single day, sometimes twice a day, and I didn’t want to,” she said. “I knew that exercise promoted the passing out, and exercise is actually what some people are supposed to do to stop passing out but that didn’t seem to be the case for me, which is why they didn’t think I had POTS. Since I am athletic it was harder to diagnose, which is why it took so long.”

Given her physical issues, it would be completely understandable for Mazour to hang up her uniform and support Bobcat volleyball from the sidelines, but that just wasn’t how she was wired. Mazour actually went on to have an incredible season her sophomore year, recording 353 kills — her highest mark in a single season — and 318 digs as MHS finished 28-11 in 2015.

Current Marshalltown head coach Chris Brees actually took over the program that season, and he said over the last three years they’ve always had a plan in case Mazour couldn’t continue in a match, but other than that the coaching staff has done their best to not worry about the situation, because that’s how Mazour approached things.

“For us, we always had a gameplan, we were always prepared if it should happen, but in my mind I tried to not let it bug me,” Brees said. “If you have an athlete who goes out and competes with that tenacity and never brings it up to you and never uses it as an excuse, if she can go out and do that then I am not going to look at it as a hindrance either. If that kid can compete like that every single day, then I have no rights to say anything about how it stresses me out as a coach.”

It wasn’t just the coaching staff supporting her though, as Mazour said the girls she played with, girls she had played with since she first took the court in fourth grade, always could read her well and knew when it was time for Mazour to take some rest.

“I love those girls so much and I would do anything for them, and they also know how to deal with all of this and they tell me on the court when I shouldn’t be out there,” Mazour said. “They tell Brees when he needs to take me off the court and I appreciate that so much because I am so stubborn that I don’t take myself off the court.”

Because of that familiarity playing with girls like Ciara Feldman and McKenna Major for so long, Mazour said she feels as close to her teammates as she does her siblings.

“It makes it easier to play with them on the court because I know them so well. They get on me and I get on them,” she said. “I don’t want to say it’s a love-hate relationship, it’s a love-love relationship, but we are like sisters. We hang out all the time and we are at practice all the time. I don’t know, I just love all of them.”

Mike Mazour, Regan’s father, said her support system on the court from her teammates and coaches has easily been one of the things that kept Regan going.

“She overcame some obstacles by having good coaches and great teammates and friends and the support she has received from all of those people made it easier for her to overcome some of the challenges she came across,” Mike said.

Of course Regan points to her parents as the biggest rock of all, specifically her mother Phyllis, who played softball in college.

“She is my biggest mentor in this sport, I can’t thank her enough for giving me all of the time that she’s put in to me,” Regan said of her mother. “My parents have driven me to Des Moines for five years, three nights a week, for club season and we’ve gone all around the country pretty much. They have put in so much time and it’s just amazing.”

Considering how much they’ve watched her play, Regan’s parents have also been there when her condition pops up on the court. Regan said those situations where she passes out in front of a crowd are the most frustrating for her, but her parents are always there waiting to comfort her.

“They know that me passing out in front of a crowd makes me very frustrated, and I do not like all the attention on me when I am not conscious. They deal with it so much better than I ever could, they make me feel so …” she broke off, struggling to find words due to her emotions.

While those situations may be tough, Phyllis said she couldn’t have been prouder with how her daughter continued to fight and play at a high level for the Bobcats despite her physical issues.

“I think any parent would feel the same way I feel. There is nothing better to see your kid enjoy what they are doing. She’s been fortunate to have the girls she has been with for a long time and have fun and enjoy her time playing,” Phyllis said. “She is a competitor and hard worker, and I can’t say I knew her potential but God gave her a lot of natural ability and she put it to use.”

Take away her medical problems, and what Regan has done in her career has still been nothing short of spectacular. She doesn’t have the prototypical volleyball-hitter body, she isn’t an imposing figure behind the net, yet she still has had over 300 kills and digs in each of the last three seasons.

“Even without that diagnosis, there are some things that make me say ‘how does that kid do that?'” Brees asked. “She’s 5-foot-7 seven and plays like she’s 6-foot-3, how does she do that? Just her knowledge of the game alone makes me say that, but again she easily could have let that define her high school career, but she didn’t and I think that’s what I am most impressed by, that she didn’t let that stop her.”

Generally in a coach-player relationship, much of the teaching comes from the coaching end while the players learn. Brees said he did everything to impart knowledge onto Mazour, but ultimately she taught him almost as much as he taught her.

“Really, I think I learned as much from Regan Mazour as she may have learned from me, and I think without that diagnosis I don’t know if it would have been the same,” he said. “She worked through every challenge, she worked just as hard if not harder than other people, and we just tried not to make it an issue.”

When she looks back on her career, Mazour said her gaudy numbers are something she almost can’t take credit for, because it took a team effort for her to join the pantheon of great Iowa volleyball players.

“I don’t see it as an individual success, I see it as a team success because in order for me to get 1,000 kills my team had to get 1,000 digs and 1,000 assists,” she said. “I can’t take credit for all 1,000 digs and kills, that came from the help of my team.”

At this moment, Mazour has no plans to continue her playing career, as she plans to attend medical school to become a surgical physician’s assistant. While her time playing for Marshalltown may have come to a close, Mazour said volleyball is something that will be a part of her life forever, and she even has aspirations to impart her knowledge onto younger generations of Bobcat players.

“I would love to coach. This winter, Ciara and I are doing little clinics for the younger girls and I just want to build up Marshalltown volleyball,” she said. “I love Marshalltown, it’s a great community. I’ve gotten to work with older people in the community through philanthropy and leadership groups and Marshalltown is so unique because every person gives back to the community and loves it here.”

2017 Times-Republican All-Area Volleyball Team

Player of the Year — Regan Mazour, sr., Marshalltown

Co-Coaches of the Year — Channing Halstead, North Tama, and Lori Willis, Grundy Center

FIRST TEAM

Juliana Arifi, jr., MH, East Marshall; Ciara Feldman, sr., OH, Marshalltown; Katie Kopriva, so., RS, North Tama; Takoa Kopriva, so., L, North Tama; Emerson Kracht, so., UT, Grundy Center; Catherine Sjoblom, jr., OH, West Marshall; Easton Swanson, jr., OH, BCLUW; Kylie Willis, jr., MH, Grundy Center

SECOND TEAM

Paige Eiffler, sr., OH, Gladbrook-Reinbeck; Madi Finch, so., S, Marshalltown; Karly Jans, jr., OH, North Tama; Lexi Keigan, sr., OH, West Marshall; Saari Kuehl, fr., OH, Gladbrook-Reinbeck; Landry Luhring, sr., OH, Grundy Center; Grace Porter, sr., S, West Marshall; Hailey Wallis, jr., OH, Grundy Center

HONORABLE MENTION

Brittany Anderson, sr., L, East Marshall; Molly Bach, sr., MH, Marshalltown; Brooke Flater, jr., MH, Grundy Center; Maddie Frischmeyer, sr., S, Gladbrook-Reinbeck; Sydney Mathews, jr., S, Grundy Center; Cate Nason, jr., S, BCLUW; Isabelle Sierra, so., S, North Tama; Sadie Smith, sr,, OH, South Tama

Past Players of the Year:

2016 — Regan Mazour, jr., OH, Marshalltown

2015 — Regan Mazour, so., OH, Marshalltown

2014 — Rachel Whaley, jr., OH, Marshalltown

2013 — Riley Sents, sr., L, Grundy Center

2012 — Heather Hook, sr., S, Grundy Center

2011 — Sam Meyers, jr., OH, Grundy Center

2010 — Jordan Loney, sr., OH, Marshalltown

2009 — Lauren Lockhart, sr., MH, Marshalltown

2008 — Macy Ubben, sr., OH

, AGWSR

2007 — Tahler Johnston, sr., OH, Marshalltown

2006 — Ali Dolphin, sr., OH, Marshalltown, and Kelsey Sents, S/OH, Grundy Center

2005 — Megan Ewoldt, sr., MH, Eldora-New Providence

2004 — Kristin Harris, sr., OH, and Nicole VanderPol, sr., MH, Grundy Center