Barker Jersey bound
Megan Barker figured if she wanted to play volleyball at the next level, no one was going to show up at her door and hand her an opportunity.
So the 19-year-old St. Catharines took to the internet to promote herself and quickly began to garner interest from schools.
Fast forward and the Sir Winston Churchill student has committed to Felician University in New Jersey on a volleyball scholarship beginning this fall.
“I put my videos out on line and it ended up the coach saw my video,” Barker said at a signing ceremony at Sir Winston Thursday. “It was just luck of the draw they saw my video on line and everything came together so beautifully.”
A trip to the Division 2 school, which is a member of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC), sealed the deal.
“It was beautiful,” Barker said. “I had offers from a few other schools but visiting Felician, it was a completely new experience. There are a smaller classes and the most amazing coaches and I met one girl on the team and it was fantastic and made me feel very welcome.
“It was such a great atmosphere.”
Barker will joined by Eden’s Kaya McLean at the school.
“I am so excited to be able to head down to the States to play sports,” she said. “We’re going to get together and meet up and be teammates in the States.”
Barker is confident her athletic abilities will transfer to the next level.
“I’m a left-side so I get to hit the ball the most on the court of any player so I’m very excited to put that into play,” she said. “As well, I love passing so playing back row is also a big strength of mine.”
Barker grew up a basketball player and didn’t really get into volleyball until Grade 8. She then began playing multiple sports at high school with remarkable results.
Over the last two years she has been a part of nine teams to qualify for OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations) where she won two gold (basketball, badminton) one silver (ultimate frisbee) and three bronze (volleyball, soccer, basketball).
“She’s dominant, not just good in each of those sports,” Sir Winston volleyball coach Brent Mergl said. “She’s invaluable. Sometimes the kid might just be on the team but she’s a valuable member contributing to each of those teams.”
Barker will miss being a Bulldog and is a particularly appreciative of the efforts of teacher/coaches Mergl, Tammy Short and Frank Keltos.
“They have been a big part of my education and they have always pushed me to be the best athlete and student that I’ve ever been and this year, more than anything, a better leader,” Barker said.
“I want to thank them for the dedication and putting in the time. They are the most amazing coaches I’ve ever had. They are really the entire school. They make the school welcoming from Grade 9 to Grade 12. You can always talk to them. They are the best people you could ever be around.”
Mergl is thrilled for Barker.
“I can’t be any prouder of Meg,” Mergl said. “I knew she wanted to keep playing after high school. We talked about where she could go. The fact she is heading to New Jersey, I couldn’t be any happier for her. They are getting a phenomenal player and she’s going to play well for them.”
On hand to witness Barker sign on the dotted line were a few close friends and family, including dad Blaine Barker, mom Danielle Barker and siblings Morgan Barker and Marshall Barker.
“My parents are the reason I am here today and I’m very thankful for all they have done,” she said. “My dad drove to the States yesterday to get all the sweaters for all of us and my mom and brother and sisters are my biggest supporters. I can always count on them to be the loudest fans in the stands.”
Barker will study early education, majoring in biology and chemistry.
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