By: black graphCal Poly Athletics Communications Intern
San Luis Obispo, Calif. , maria whalen Max Preps was an All American in highschool. He was recruited for indoor volleyball on the College of Wisconsin, the top-ranked staff within the nation on the time. There, he was awarded the Gatorade Participant of the 12 months. When she started enjoying Division I seaside volleyball, she was awarded a number of extremely acclaimed achievements from the convention and the AVCA. Even with this checklist of athletic achievements, Whelan has by no means been in a position to full a full season of intercollegiate sports activities.
Whalen, Wausau, Wis. Ok is a redshirt senior who dreamed of enjoying for a extremely ranked indoor staff on the nationwide degree. Thankfully, her athletic skills let that dream come true, however she wasn’t anticipating to be desired by the very best staff within the nation.
Whalen was ending her freshman season in Wisconsin as she secured a beginning place. Nonetheless, he tore his meniscus throughout an train that autumn.
“I used to be actually disenchanted that I used to be doing properly and had an amazing begin to my new yr,” Whelan stated. “It was an odd feeling as a result of I’ve by no means had a serious damage earlier than.”
The damage impressed her to return again stronger as she felt impressed to see her teammates grind day by day with out her. After recovering from that surgical procedure, she went to an open health club through the low season of the identical college yr. Sadly, Whelan withdrew his meniscus once more on the identical actual foot.
“My teammates have been very disenchanted to be taught that I needed to go to rehab once more and it might depart me behind. However the staff tradition was so good that I needed to work my butt off to return again”
Whelan was rehabilitated and able to go by the point the season of sophomore was rolling in. Nonetheless, she might really feel that one thing was not proper along with her knee and went to get it checked. This was when she discovered that she would wish a 3rd surgical procedure in a span of two years.
“There was a number of ambiguity with this damage as a result of the MRI did not present something important, so I used to be beginning to query school sports activities. It was complicated to strive arduous for one thing that was so simply out of my management.” was eliminated.”
After recovering from this surgical procedure, Whelan in addition to her docs and coaches got here to the conclusion that indoor volleyball was not the game she might play in school. Thankfully, seaside volleyball is an NCAA sport that entails the identical abilities as indoor volleyball and is way simpler on the physique from an damage viewpoint.
head coach todd rogers He took benefit of the chance when he noticed Whelan’s title on the switch portal. “I knew she was a extremely good athlete. She was too bodily, however too uncooked for the seaside. However I knew she was going to be in my lineup someplace and I simply needed to determine it out.” The place is she going?”
Transferring to a brand new college and enjoying a brand new sport was precisely what Whelan wanted.
“It was a breath of contemporary air. I wasn’t serious about previous or future accidents.”
Sadly, he solely acquired an opportunity to play a couple of occasions throughout his first season at Cal Poly because the COVID-19 pandemic known as off all NCAA video games. “You come to follow at some point and it is simply over. It wasn’t actually established. I continued coaching within the occasion that the game would return,” Whelan stated.
It was his third season of faculty sports activities, his third season of not with the ability to totally compete in it, however the first time it was not attributable to damage. He wanted to replicate on his place in school sports activities.
Whelan determined to return the next yr. After all, Whelan tore his shoulder in the beginning of the season.
“I saved enjoying on it as a result of I could not consider I used to be harm as soon as once more.”
After getting some differing opinions from medical professionals, she determined to take a while off to strengthen her shoulder and later got here again with out surgical procedure. 4 weeks into that yr’s season, she was again in her first follow. Coach Rogers acknowledged that Whelan had ready for competitors two days after beginning follow. The Cal Poly seaside volleyball staff was ranked sixth within the nation on the time.
Whereas she was in a position to compete, she nonetheless is not the participant she as soon as was.
“First, actually enjoying that season was mind-blowing. Second, it was very arduous to alter the best way I performed and the best way I considered enjoying. How does it cooperate with my ego as properly? There was a giant change.”
After that season some exterior COVID associated circumstances prompted Whelan to have surgical procedure on his shoulder.
“It was a distinct feeling as a result of I selected the damage. I selected rehab.”
Whereas Whelan expressed that she had a selection, it appeared slim as she struggled to hold out actions of each day residing with out ache. “I could not convey my groceries in with out hurting my shoulder. I would additionally get up in the course of the night time in excessive ache. It is bizarre to assume that this was my actuality for some time and I am contemplating residing that method.” I used to be going once more in order that I might compete.”
The time it took for him to get well from shoulder surgical procedure was longer than in any of his earlier accidents. Whelan was out taking part with the seaside volleyball staff from September to April.
Nonetheless, Coach Rogers nonetheless praised him as part of his program. “She has proven a number of dedication to remain concerned. She has a number of dedication to me and I’ve respect for her as a result of she actually cannot play. Everybody ought to be capable of see her and depend her blessings.”
Indubitably, Whalen is again in motion this season. She took half within the very first competitors her surgeons thought of protected. Coach Rogers debuted him in an exhibition match in opposition to Santa Clara to check the waters earlier than placing him in a match counted for Cal Poly. Whelan annihilates his opponents with accomplice black graph21-5, 21-10.
This was sufficient for Rogers to maneuver him as much as compete. The following day, Whelan and Graf beat St Mary’s 21–18, 21–13.
Like another participant on the staff, she hopes to safe her spot within the beginning lineup for the remainder of the season. “I do not know what is going to occur sooner or later, however I’m giving my finest and if it places me within the beginning lineup then so be it.”
Whereas his school athletics journey has been a curler coaster, Whelan has embraced each sense of it. “I consider that issues do not occur for you. The moments in your life that suck probably the most are those that make the very best moments of your life even higher.”
The Cal Poly seaside volleyball staff is ranked thirteenth within the nation and can host the Middle of Effort Problem on April 15.th and 16th On the Swanson Seaside Volleyball Complicated. There, they might play No. 1 USC, No. 3 UCLA, No. 4 Florida State and No. 6 LMU.