There isn't a fool-proof blueprint for catching the eye of college coaches and earning a scholarship, but most high school athletes know that if you want to play at the next level, you need to excel in your particular sport.
Whether that's on the field for your high school or via the AAU circuit, getting noticed is the biggest thing. But every so often a student-athlete manages to obtain a college scholarship by going a completely different route -- like playing volleyball in a recreational league during your senior year.
As Dallas-Fort Worth's ABC affiliate WFAA-TV reported, Plano's Meredith Mounger didn't even play volleyball at Plano East (Texas) High School during her junior and senior years, after she was cut from the team.
After playing for a club squad her junior year, she ended up leaving the team to play in a recreational league at the Plano Sports Authority. And yet somehow, some way, she managed to still end up with an opportunity to play volleyball in college at Texas Wesleyan University, an NAIA school.
"To have someone tell you at a young age no, or you're not good enough, and then for you to continue to pursue and be persistent and work at it says a lot about a person," Christy Clawson-Diver, Texas Wesleyan's volleyball coach, told WFAA.
Mounger's story isn't a first, but the fact that she ended up passing on even playing club volleyball her senior year and still ended up with a scholarship is pretty rare.
While Mounger's scholarship offer is a feel-good story, The Dallas Morning News' Health Blog noted that even though her perseverance paid off, there's still a concern about whether high school sports are discouraging kids who want to play and stay healthy.
But my bigger point is: our high school sports teams are discouraging kids who want to play, exercise, work out, be healthy. Meredith, happily, had the support of her family which never stopped encouraging her and invested the time and money in getting her to club and then recreational sports competition at PSA when she couldn't play for Plano East Senior High. What about all the kids that don't have families that have the time, the money and the confidence to do that?
Honestly, I don't see a problem with what Plano East High did. Schools all over the country have to make cuts for their junior varsity and varsity squads every year to not only keep the sport under budget, but also to make sure every player has a chance to play.
It just so happens Mounger found a way to keep pushing forward, and it ended up paying off in the end. Not every high school athlete will be so lucky, but it's pretty neat when one of them manages to beat the odds and play on the collegiate level.