Throughout the season, students from the Chargers Athletics varsity program will take time from their academic and athletic pursuits to share their sport and non-sport related insights, interests and inspirations. Today’s “Time-Out” features Chargers newcomer Morgan Monkman. Find out why this three-time Games veteran loves volleyball, what she digs about Camosun and how she’s adjusting to college life after high school and her golden summer!
- Women’s Volleyball
- Home Town
- Smithers, BC
- High School
- Smithers Secondary
- Program of Study
- University Transfer
- Head Coach
- Chris Dahl
What was it like growing up in Smithers and how did you get started playing volleyball?
I grew up in a small community about 15 minutes outside of Smithers called Telkwa. Both my parents are very active and they’re both teachers. Every family has activities that they do together, but my parents would open up the high school gym and we’d go in and play or my dad would make us skating rinks in the backyard … and we also had a volleyball court in the backyard. I have a younger brother who loves to play basketball and my mom played volleyball at UBC for five years. She played with Grant Maskiewich’s mom – Kelly, and Morgan Marshall’s mom – Anita, who are also from Smithers.
When I was really young, like a toddler, I’d watch my mom and her friends play; that was my first exposure to volleyball. I remember being in the gym, sitting on the sidelines and watching my mom in the Prince George Power League that Chris Dahl used to organize. It’s actually pretty funny that he’s coaching me now!
Smithers is a very tight-knit town – you know most of the people and they know you and the community as a whole is very active. There are so many opportunities to participate in activity, no matter what you are interested in. I did everything from skiing to dance … and all through high school I played soccer, basketball and volleyball. It wasn’t until about Grade 10 that I thought, yeah … volleyball, I love volleyball!
What do you love about volleyball?
I’ve always liked team sports more than individual sports but as far as team sports go, volleyball is the ultimate team sport. Everyone has to be in the game and every touch counts. And there are so many levels to the game – there’s the physical demands and there is also the fact that it’s a huge mental game and in order to be successful, you need to have all those components working together.
What do you consider to be your top achievements so far?
For the past three consecutive years, I’ve been selected to Team BC. This past summer was our most successful: we won gold at the National Team Challenge Cup (NTCC) in Winnipeg (July) and also at the Western Canada Summer Games which were in August in Fort McMurray.
What made you choose Camosun?
As far as choosing college over university, I’d heard a lot positive things about starting the college route and I knew that the Chargers had past success, which was cool. Also, I have the utmost respect for Chris as a coach and to be able to be here and learn from him is definitely a huge deal.
I also really love Victoria! I have an aunt and uncle who live here and I had been here before and I loved the city and the coast, so location was a big draw too. The whole west coast lifestyle is pretty awesome!
What is the biggest adjustment you’ve had to make moving from high school to college?
I would say my biggest adjustment has been learning to meet the demands of being a college student-athlete. Our schedule is demanding and the season is much longer than I’m used to from high school. Chris emphasizes the importance of having a “growth mindset” – it’s an athlete’s job to be constantly seeking improvement. To do this, we all have to strive to work hard every opportunity we get. I figured out quickly that taking care of areas outside volleyball, like my rest, nutrition, and school assignments ahead of time, is essential for success on the court. Being organized in other areas lets me focus myself fully when it’s time for practice in the gym or weights outside of practice.
What do you want to accomplish while you’re here?
I haven’t really decided on a career path yet, so one thing I’d like to do while I’m here at Camosun is to find my career passion. I also want to keep growing as a player and I want to be a part of building the program which others have started.
What sets the Chargers apart from other programs?
Obviously, the level of coaching we receive is stand-out! Also, our facility at PISE is an amazing place to be: it’s the perfect environment, and the resources that we have at our disposal that few other programs are able to have are really incredible.
Do you have any role models?
Growing up in Smithers, I’ve always looked up to Morgan Marshall who played four years here at Camosun and graduated last year. I also admire Kyla Richey, who plays for the Canadian Women’s National Team and who plays professionally. Kyla is from a small town too (Sechelt) so both she and Morgan have shown me that you can be successful and go places if you work really hard.
What’s your favourite thing to do outside of volleyball?
I love leading an active lifestyle! I really love cycling and hiking and I know there are some awesome trestles and trails around the city but I’ve been so busy that I haven’t been able to do much of that kind of thing. One of our team bonding activities was hiking up Mt. Doug and I hope to do more of that but right now it’s school and volleyball.
Do you have any pre-match rituals?
If I had one superstitious thing … black socks are my game day socks! I don’t know why but that’s the way it is! And I like to get to the gym early and make sure that things are laid out and ready to go but I wouldn’t call myself superstitious. I know you don’t have control over everything, but the stuff that I can control over, I try to take care of. For me, I love the team aspect so I like to be connected to my teammates before a match. I like discussing the match with them and being in the zone and taking it all in.
What type of work do you see yourself doing when you graduate?
I’m sort of in that whole exploration stage as far as careers go, but my favourite classes have always been the biology ones. I would definitely consider something like medicine or athletic therapy or a health-related field. It would be an incredible opportunity to play volleyball professionally. There are a lot of leagues and it would be an amazing way to travel and see the world but I would still want the security of having a degree. It would definitely be ok for a little while though!