Photo by Katrina Cardinal
Peninsula High School
November Athlete of the Month Josie Hampton says one of the things she enjoys most about playing volleyball is how mentally tough you have to be to play the game. “Hardly anyone scores a point in volleyball without someone else making a mistake, and a lot of the time you’re the one making the mistake,” she explained. “You have to be able to shake off things you do wrong in order to win.”
This was something that was a challenge to Josie when she first picked up the sport she has since grown to love. As an eighth grader she wanted to quit halfway through her first club season, but her parents stepped in and encouraged her not to give up. “They knew I’d be ashamed if I gave up on something I could be good at, and that I’d be proud having gotten through something so challenging for me,” said Josie. She now plays on the Peninsula High School team and also competes for club teams in both the winter and spring.
When not competing, Josie works hard in the classroom and has maintained a 4.0 GPA since middle school. She enjoys baking and cooking, writing and movies; hobbies and interests that she hopes someday to turn into a career. “Film is my favorite form of art, and for as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a part of it. My career goal is to be involved with that storytelling process in whichever way I can,” she said.
Josie plans on attending a yet-to-be-determined four-year college and is still considering whether she wants to pursue volleyball at the next level as well. No matter where she goes and the career path she chooses, Josie can reflect back on her time in the gym where she was learning more than just volleyball skills. “If at first you don’t succeed, try again!” she said. “This has always been something I’ve heard, but volleyball was what taught me that it was true. Things aren’t always going to work out the way you want them to, but if you stick with it, eventually you’ll work out the kinks.”
Photo by Mike Kelly
Gig Harbor High School
Megan Hanson has been a part of many teams and has had a lot of different teammates. The Gig Harbor High School senior has only lived in the area for two years, and it’s the 10th time she’s moved before her 18th birthday. The daughter of a mother and father both in the Army, Megan is familiar with being thrust into new situations, and in all her moves she says she hasn’t found a group of teammates so committed to each other than she the ones she currently has.
“These girls are such amazing human beings; they make even the worst practices enjoyable. They inspire me to always work hard, and I like to believe I do the same to them,” said Megan.
Megan is an accomplished swimmer and was introduced to water polo when she moved to Gig Harbor. She is currently the captain of the girl’s swim team and a yearly competitor at the state tournament. Many of her swimming teammates are also on the water polo team and see each other six days a week almost year-round. “I have yet to come across another team where their girls are as close to each other as ours,” she said.
A 3.8 GPA student, Megan has hopes of attending college in California and carrying on her family’s dedication of military service through an ROTC program. “My main career interest is pediatric nursing and becoming a military officer. I am interested in nursing because I have a passion for helping people,” she said. Megan is already experiencing this firsthand as a volunteer in the medical/surgical ward at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma.
While she doesn’t plan on pursuing swimming competitively in college, she is confident it will remain a big part of her life as she will take many of the lessons she learned in the pool with her. “The hard worker that swimming has encouraged me to become has helped me with my academics as well. It has kept me focused on doing well in school because, as I’ve come to realize, swimming isn’t everything. It has taught me so many things and made me want to succeed in everything I do, school being the greatest example,” she said.
Hard work will serve Megan well as she looks forward to both serving her country and helping those in need.