The decorated athlete was part of a consistent squad that brought an era of dominance to the Cougars

PIONEER PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Country Christian and Molalla athlete Meghan McGrath was consistently one of the top athlete in her chosen sports, winning six titles, and appearing in 11 championship competitions. Molalla—Graduated Country Christian senior Meghan McGrath was, like her peers and teammates, an incredibly successful student athlete.

McGrath was a member of a four time volleyball state championship team, a leader on a basketball team that made it to the state championship game four years in a row, and a track and field athlete for Molalla High School who thrice made it to the awards stand.

To make such a consistent series of championship appearance required a dedication that McGrath and her teammates shared. They rose early, well before school began, and hit the weight room. After school, they put in hard work during practice and followed it up with knocking out their homework thereafter. Putting in the work was second nature to a lifelong athlete like McGrath.

"I've done sports pretty much my whole life," McGrath said. "The little league basketball in the first, second, third, and fourth grades. When I was younger, I used to play soccer. My dad was the coach, so that was fun. But I started doing track in the sixth grade. Anna (Farner) said, 'Hey, you should go do this with me.' That's when we started that. I kind of carried that out all the way through, which was fun. Pretty much just basketball, volleyball, and track."

McGrath preferred track and field and volleyball to basketball, but being able to play with her friends and teammates in the winter was something she would not pass up. In fact, the bond that she shared with her team was one of the reasons they were so strong for four straight years. Knowing each other so well, the team could motivate one another.

"I think it's that we're all so close to each other," McGrath said. "I'd call them my family. They know a lot about me, and I know a lot about them. We all communicate with each other, and we all know what's going on. If someone is having a bad day, we're able to comfort them. It's a family feeling, and with a small school it's really nice."

That small school, family feeling is one of the factors that led to the school's success over the past four years. A core group of girls came back in, year after year, and put in the hours to make sure that the success and fun of competition was a constant.

"All this success I could not have done without my team," McGrath said. "It's so heavily a team thing that some people don't really realize it at times. They're like, 'You did this, and this, and this.' You acknowledge it, but the team really helped me. You need encouragement, you need motivation, you need all this other stuff. We put a lot of hard work into being where we're at now."

That doesn't mean there weren't hard moments though. As a junior, McGrath blew out her knee during the basketball season and it wasn't pretty. The injury occurred on a fast break that McGrath had done plenty of times in the past.

"I was going for a fast break lay-in, and there was a girl on my left side," McGrath recounted. "I had to cut her off to go more towards the basket, and as soon as I pushed off with my right leg to cut in, it gave out. It felt like my kneecap went out and then popped back in. All of the sudden I was on the ground, holding my knee. It happened really fast, but it definitely hurt."

Not only did it remove her from the season, but it ultimately affected her in track and field as well. The only year McGrath did not go to Hayward Field for the state championships was as a junior.

Outside of that knee injury, the years of athletics have been otherwise kind on McGrath. No other serious injuries to speak of, the now Country Christian alumna looks back on her time as a Cougar athlete with a fondness. One particular memory stands out, and it involved a trip with her volleyball team to the American southwest.

"It's hard to pick one particular memory because there are so many we create with each other throughout the years, and obviously the success we've had as a team," McGrath said. "But I think the most memorable was when we went to Arizona with the volleyball team. That really helped us improve a lot. Just spending time with the team is so much fun."

McGrath will have a new team to enjoy come the new school year. She signed to compete with the Linfield track and field team, and will take to the throwers ring once again. As a high school athlete, she made the awards podium in the discus and shot put for Molalla High School. In college, she'll pursuing something she's had passion and curiosity for a while.

"I'll be studying elementary education," McGrath said. "I've always had a love for kids, and I didn't really realize it until my junior year when we went on a zoo trip with the second graders. We had our own little buddies, and my buddy that I got paired up with had a disability. As soon as the trip was over, we came home and my teacher said, 'I've never seen someone work so well with that kid before. Have you ever thought about going into elementary education?' I hadn't really thought about it until then. It just really interested me."

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