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February 18, 2019

The Life Of a Stanford Volleyball Champion

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Many student-athletes aspire to compete for their dream college, the chance at a National Championship and the ultimate goal is having it all? For Meghan McClure, a sophomore on Stanford University’s Women’s Volleyball team, this dream became a reality this past season. Getting to this point is not an easy task, as many can imagine, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

Meghan, an All- Pac 12 Conference team recipient begins her day on the phone with her mom and sister while riding her bike through Stanford’s campus to attend Training Table, a place for athletes to get meals. Here is where she and her teammates eat breakfast to fuel up for the day. Meghan then has a series of classes while squeezing in lunch and an hour or so of homework each day before practice begins. To handle the rigorous academic load, she works to maximize every bit of time she has. This can mean studying or working on assignments during the 30 minutes between classes, or during travel time on the road before a match.

Meghan works extremely hard to get ahead in her classes to allow for peace of mind later to help keep her stay focused. While some students take the weekends off to relax, Meghan is using them to prepare herself for classes, studying, and completing homework.

She then begins practice at Maples Pavillion with her teammates. During her “off” season, she has weight-lifting four times a week,  individual-sessions with her coaching staff to focus on individual skills, as well as one team practice per week. Stanford’s Women’s Volleyball team is very close; they love to sing and dance, play games, and also partake in a prank war, which Meghan recounts as both stressful and incredibly fun.

The chemistry of all of the athletes both on and off the court helped propel Stanford to the NCAA Division 1 National Championship. At the start of the season, she knew that this team was unique and they had all the pieces to win. The team was so grateful to represent their University with a Championship, and they displayed the hard work they had put in to get to that point. Meghan felt both joy and relief after winning the Championship alongside her team because this has been a dream she had been working towards her whole life but especially during her two years at Stanford University.

Going far into the NCAA tournament was something Meghan was prepared for both on the court and in the classroom. To get ready for a match, she will read over scouting reports that provide tendencies and statistics on her opponent as well as visualizing herself being successful during the match. She accredits the most important part of mental preparation to staying calm and reminding herself of the confidence she has. This Stanford athlete not only worked hard physically to prepare herself to reach the finals but also academically to be ready to reach the Finals. As previously mentioned, she puts much effort into getting ahead in her classes, so she does not have the stress of rushing to finish assignments at the last minute. She studied well in advance for her classes, knowing that the Final Four would simultaneously take place with final exams.

Meghan battles the pressure of a grueling academic and athletic workload with reminding herself that she is not defined solely by her performance in both areas. Family and friends also emphasize that there is always time to improve and that being a student-athlete is supposed to be a fun experience. She enjoys this time spent with her family and friends to keep all of her stressors in perspective; maintaining strong relationships with family and friends is vital to her. One way she does this is by getting off campus at least once a week to drive to a local restaurant for dinner with these groups.

Photo by VolleyballMag

Meghan rounds out her day around 10:30 or 11:00 pm by watching some television before she goes to bed. While her days may seem stressful to many, she is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be a student-athlete at her dream school. This young lady has also received a plethora of individual honors, some of which include All-Pac-12 Freshman Team, VolleyballMag.com All-America honorable mention, and Pac-12 All-Academic First Team. When asked what she was most proud of, Meghan did not mention any of these.

Instead, she feels an immense amount of pride to attend such a prestigious institution playing the sport she loves. To represent Stanford on the court is a dream come true for her.

Meghan is genuinely proud to be both a sister and a daughter.  Mandy McClure, Meghan’s older sister who was born with Down Syndrome, is an inspiration for her. Mandy has the special ability to bring joy to the people that she meets and changes them for the better.

Meghan McClure is thankful for the opportunity to accomplish such a goal and has worked incredibly hard to achieve all the things she has in two years. She is currently living out a dream of playing at her dream school, and the best of all? Her team won the National Championship.