July 9, 2012

Bronco Volleyball Players Climb Half Dome Two Days After Graduation!

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To the right: Megan Anders, left, and Tanya Schmidt, right.

Bronco volleyball players come to Santa Clara to play the sport they love, attend classes on the Mission campus and bond with their teammates on and off with the court on a daily basis.  Sometimes the bonding goes to a whole another level. Graduating senior Tanya Schmidt and rising junior Megan Anders bonded as they climbed the 5,000 foot Half Dome in Yosemite National Park on the Monday after Santa Clara's graduation, June 18.

Half Dome is a Yosemite icon and a great challenge to many hikers.

Anders did the climb last summer and after telling Schmidt about it during their preseason drills last August, Schmidt was game to try it as well.  Around Christmas they talked about the best dates for each after the Spring's finals and finalized their plans during spring break. 

Schmidt had graduated two days before after being named the West Coast Conference Female Student-Athlete of the Year.  Graduating with a 3.97 GPA in English, she was also awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and was named to the Gold List on the WCC Commissioner's List all four years. 

One would think you would have to train for months to climb Half Dome.  Maybe that is true of some people, but these Bronco student-athletes, they were already in superior shape.  "We did not train for it at all, but knew our volleyball training was more than enough to carry us through.  It is more mental training than physical, to just keep hiking and hiking.  One round of double days training is enough to mentally prepare any athlete for the Half Dome hike," said Anders.

There was never a point where either wanted to quit.  "I never hit that point this time around, which felt great," said Anders.  "Last year I felt that way on the cables, but this year we brought some ropes to make harnesses.  I felt so much more comfortable since I knew that if I slipped and fell it would be a scraped knee as opposed to falling off the cliff

Anders said having her teammate there helped and also having one time under her belt was also reassuring.  "It felt great," Anders, a 6-5 middle blocker added.  "This time I was able to relax unlike last time.  The last time I hiked I was so worried about the climb down that it was hard to really enjoy the moment.  This year Tanya and I not only took naps on the top of Half Dome, but got to read and meet people from around the world. I knew the hike down was manageable so it was so much easier to be in the moment instead of worrying of what's to come."

Anders said she would love to do it again!  "Any opportunity to hike half dome would be wonderful," said Anders, the Sustainability Intern for the Malley and Leavey Centers.  "I am hoping to make it a yearly experience.  We will see how lucky I get."