COLUMBIA — Megan Wilson enjoys a variety of outdoor recreation activities.
“Our family vacations are camping in the North Woods, they’re driving to Georgia, driving to Oregon, to camp,” Wilson said. “And we camp the whole way. Just anything outdoors.”
Wilson, of the Missouri volleyball team, has another year of eligibility after this season. But she won’t be using it. She will graduate from Missouri in May with a degree in nutrition and fitness. She is in the process of applying to graduate schools and won’t be attending Missouri. As she weighs which graduate school to attend, she said she is considering what outdoor recreation options would be available at each school.
Of particular interest is the Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership program at the University of Washington in Seattle. Wilson went to Seattle for a match last season and said she became interested in the mountains and other outdoor activities the city has to offer.
Even though her playing career will end soon, Wilson wants to return to work in college athletics after graduate school in another capacity. She hasn’t decided exactly what role she wants to take on when she returns to college sports.
“I love the competitive atmosphere,” she said. “I love the kids’ desire to work hard, where like in high school, you have to push the kids really, really hard and they just don’t care.”
Wilson wasn’t initially as excited about going to graduate school. She said coach Wayne Kreklow informed her in the spring that this would be her last season on the volleyball team.
“I was asked to be a senior this year, so I am,” Wilson said.
Kreklow said the situations of players who have redshirted are evaluated on a case-by- case basis, in part on whether their best academic opportunities are at Missouri or elsewhere. He declined comment on the matter of the decision for this to be Megan Wilson’s last season.
“There’s often things that happen within a program that are, in my opinion, are between players and coaches and not meant for public display,” Kreklow said. “And I think this is one of them.”
Prior to getting the news from Kreklow, Wilson said her plan was to graduate in May, then continue taking classes at Missouri and play a fifth season. For classes, she said she was considering picking up a minor or starting graduate work. But she said those plans changed when Kreklow delivered the news.
“That was one of the most stressful things about it,” Wilson said. “I’ve got to figure out now, in a year, what I’m going to do. Because I had the next two years of my life planned out here. That was probably one of the most stressful things. Because I felt like, I knew that I didn’t have to, but I felt like I had to figure things out right now, Because I’m a really organized person. I like to know what’s coming next. I didn’t know. I kind of lost that control.”
Even though she knew she would graduate in May, she was not expecting to hear from her coaches that this would her last season.
“It was very much a surprise,” Wilson said. “But, you know, you just kind of have to roll with whatever life brings. I can tell you, it was very hard at first. But I have grown so much from it.”
When Wilson was given the news, she said she felt a sense of disappointment in not “finishing” her career and that she sometimes felt she had let her family down. She talked to a former athlete in her family, her father Scott Wilson, who once played professional basketball in Europe.
“My Dad was really shocked at first,” Wilson said. “He didn’t really know what to say. But, he knows how I am, and I’m an extremely emotional person. And he was just like, ‘Megan, it doesn’t matter.’ He was like, ‘You go out there this year and you glorify the Lord in all that you do. And no matter what happens, we still love you. Nothing ever changes.’ Just that support has gotten me through this. Just knowing that they’re the same, they’re always there.”
For Wilson, moving on brings mixed emotions.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” she said. “I love my experience here, I love everything. I don’t want to leave my friends don’t want to leave this atmosphere, stuff like that. But it’s really exciting, just because it’s the next step in life. I could go anywhere I want to.”
Megan Wilson also called her sister, Nicole Wilson, who played volleyball for Missouri from 2003-2006.
“She was just like, ‘Megan, you’ve got to look at the positive things in this,’” Megan Wilson said. “Once again, I come from a Christian family, very strong faith. She was just like, ‘You have to know that the Lord has a plan.’ It may not be what you want, you may not like it right now, but that’s the way life goes.’ Getting advice from her was extremely helpful. A lot of times it was just comforting to hear her be like, ‘Megan, no matter what happens I still love you the same.’”