Hight chooses volleyball, Mount Olive

Apr. 16, 2014 @ 11:31 PM

Megan Hight didn’t think she would end up playing volleyball in college. Softball was her passion and it ultimately helped pave a way to the University of Mount Olive for the Southern Vance senior.

Hight signed on Wednesday to play volleyball for the Division II Trojans.

“I always had my mind on softball,” said Hight, “but this past year has really shown me my love for both sports.”

Hight, recruited as an outside hitter, initially drew interest from Mount Olive while playing for the Johnston County Clippers travel softball team with Raider teammate Brittany West. Hight was the catcher and West the pitcher, as they are on Southern’s team.

The Clippers scrimmaged Mount Olive, prompting the Trojans’ softball and volleyball coaches to converse. Hight later picked up the volleyball offer.

Hight will have the opportunity to walk on Mount Olive’s softball team in addition to suiting up for the volleyball squad.

The private institution formerly known as Mount Olive College competes in Conference Carolinas.

“I really liked the school and the people,” said Hight. “I went two or three times and I liked everybody there. I think I’ll fit in there.”

Hight was named all-conference honorable mention in volleyball this season and earned all-conference honors her junior season. She’s a three-time all-conference selection in softball and likely headed for a fourth.

First-year Southern head volleyball coach April Abbott reunited with Hight this season after coaching her at Henderson Middle School and Leann Harrell has coached Hight in each of her four high school seasons in softball.

“They’ve inspired her to do better, inspired her to be the best she can,” Megan’s mother, Tammy, said of Abbott and Harrell. “Megan’s always given 110 percent to everything she’s done.”

Hight was a freshman and key contributor on the Southern softball team that reached the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A state final in 2011. The 6-foot-2 standout also helped guide the Raiders’ volleyball team to the 2-A state quarterfinals this season.

Harrell said Megan, the person — and Megan, the athlete — are entirely different.

“As a person, she’s very laid back,” said Harrell. “She’s easy going. When she steps foot on the field, she’s very determined. She has lots of passion.”

“Megan’s a beast,” said Abbott. “Once she gets her mind there, she doesn’t let a lot of outside factors mess with her when she’s on the court.”

Abbott said consistency is one of Hight’s most valuable athletic assets.

Abbott, who played volleyball for UNC Pembroke, has been able to pass on firsthand advice about playing the sport at the next level.

“She told me girls are going to be bigger, I’m going to have a lot more competition,” said Hight. “It’s just going to be a lot tougher.”

According to friends, family, coaches and Southern administration gathered on Wednesday, Hight has the capability to match that toughness — both mentally and physically.

“I think she’s probably a good role model for the community because everybody has an excuse for why they’re not doing something or why they aren’t succeeding in life,” said Harrell. “I feel like she’s a person people can look up to and learn that no matter what happens, it’s up to you how your future turns out.”

Even if an unexpected path is needed to get there.

Contact the writer at kholtzman@hendersondispatch.com.