Athlete profile

Posted on 29 August 2017 by Ian Schrauth

Sarah Stretch – Set on Success

 

By: Madison Bouse
Staff Writer

 

A passion for volleyball started early for Sarah Stretch, who began playing the game in the third grade and credits her eighth grade coach with inspiring her to explore her potential in the sport. After graduating from high school in 2012 and choosing to spend just one season playing for MSU – West Plains, Stretch was invited by Coach Geoffrey Davis this July to join the team at STLCC – Meramec.

“It had been 5 years since I had played at a collegiate level… I finally feel like I’m getting a second chance at my passion,” said Stretch.

Her career in the sport has been a long and dynamic journey, but today Stretch finds motivation from a very special source: her three-year-old daughter, Averie.   

“I want her to look up to me and see how hard I work to do what I love,” Stretch said. “This could possibly be the last time I play at this level, so I know that if I want to further my volleyball career, I have to push through the sweat and tears.”Submitted photo

Part of that push is an intense and consistent training routine designed by Otavio, the team’s trainer, to challenge and strengthen them. Stretch recommends a similar regimen for other athletes hoping to up their game and reap results from their hard work.

“I always try to make sure I’m doing each exercise to my greatest ability. If you only give 50 percent, then that is all you will get in results,” said Stretch. “Outside of that, I make sure I’m drinking mostly, if not only, water. I try to get at least 6 hours of sleep… I almost always stay after practice to get some extra reps. I want to be the best setter, hitter, and passer I can for my team, and the reps help build the muscle memory.”

Stretch also encourages other athletes to search for their own source of passion, and above all, to invest in the people they train and play alongside. She credits her former and current teammates with much of her success, owing it to the positive energy they reflect upon each other. Stretch’s devotion to this healthy, supportive team dynamic among players and coaches is quite apparent, and she seems to have found her niche here at Meramec.

“There is always someone who is watching your form and telling you what you need to fix or willing to work with you one on one,” she said. “[The coaches] all share the same passion as us and… want to help us improve as much as possible.”

While Stretch is on a trajectory bound for even greater success, having already ranked 1st in the nation for assists and assists per set in the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) Division, she says her greatest goals aren’t really centered on the numbers and titles.

“I don’t worry about the stats as much as I did before, because I should always be giving 100 percent into every dig, set and swing, regardless of if it upped my stats. If I’m giving my all, the stats and wins will follow,” she said.

Instead, she said she is trying to focus on her role as a leader and motivator for her teammates, set on leaving a legacy of “energy and positivity” behind when she graduates and transfers out of Meramec this fall.

“I want to focus on having an attitude that is intense and determined, yet positive and supportive… Any sport is 90 percent attitude and mindset and 10 percent skill, give or take. I’m going to lead by example and come into every practice and game focused and optimistic.”

 

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