March 10, 2014
CINCINNATI – On Feb. 21, 2014, two University of Cincinnati volleyball players flew to Colorado Springs, Colo., to the United States Olympic training center. Juniors Me’Ashah Nicholson (Shiloh, Ill./Belleville Althoff) and Caitlin Ogletree (Montgomery, Texas/Houston) were invited to participate in the 2014 U.S. Women’s National Team open tryouts.
Nicholson and Ogletree competed with 248 athletes from 106 colleges and universities. Athletes selected to the U.S. Women’s National Team and/or the U.S. Collegiate National Teams program will be notified in the next few weeks.
While in Colorado, the Bearcats recorded blogs on their experience. Below is what each had to say about their time at the 2014 U.S. Women’s National Team open tryouts.
Me’Ashah Nicholson, Jr,. MB
It’s the day before tryouts and I’m having mixed emotions just lying in bed. I don't quite know whether to roll around and shout or start crying hysterically. Earlier in the week I was quite calm not necessarily nervous but a little anxious. I just try to keep myself calm and remind myself it’s just volleyball and that it’s in God’s hands!
Caitlin and I arrived in Denver and all I can say is I’m thankful my headphones are noise canceling! Spending 5 hours in an airport is not fun so Caitlin and I had to come up with ways to stay busy – one being a flappy bird tournament and I still hold the record! I also made some new friends from other schools who were on our same flight, and that was pretty cool.
We finally landed in Colorado Springs and I am feeling a little sick because of all the turbulence on the plane. It was a shaky ride but we made it. We landed 20 minutes before our first session so we had to hurry and change, get on the shuttle, run to the gym and jump right in! Although it was high anxiety just jumping in and not really knowing what was going on, it eventually calmed down and the session was great!
We had two sessions today, a morning session from 9:50-11 a.m. and an afternoon session from 4-6 p.m.
The first session was pretty chaotic, but the first thing we did was warm-up. After warm-ups the head coach announced that there was going to be a middle vs middle competition! At first I was like ‘yes!’ but then I was thinking ‘shoot, I’m about to be super tired’. We warmed up with hitting lines against two blockers and I swear it was the biggest block ever. I was literally shooting for the sky when I hit. It was a little intimidating but I made it through. The rest of the day we competed and did some serve and receive at the end.
During the second session we did wash board games and it was very intense and tiring. But overall it was a good day.
Today was the last day of tryouts. I was in the very first group to go and all we did was scrimmage. It was great overall great experience for me.
Caitlin Ogletree, RS So., S
I cannot tell if it’s this extremely bumpy plane ride or if my nerves are kicking in, but my stomach is starting to feel the butterflies. As I sit here on the plane, I am having flashbacks of my volleyball career. I remember growing up wanting to live in the gym. I just wanted to compete. I didn’t care if it was against people who were way more experienced than me, I just wanted to compete because I loved the game. I never knew where I would end up with volleyball. If I was given a chance to play at the DI level, I knew I would take it. Some of the biggest moments of my life consisted of becoming a Cincinnati Bearcat. Now here I am on a plane traveling to try out for the USA Women’s national team and I am in complete awe. Needless to say, this is a HUGE moment for me. I am so thankful for this opportunity and I cannot wait to have a weekend full of competition. I am blessed to be able to represent my country and my Bearcat family.
After the first day, my mind is blown. STOKED. THANKFUL. Getting to train with some of the most talented athletes in the country for just a few hours so far has been an awesome experience. The players h ere are so talented. The facilities here are GORGEOUS. The food … I like that part too. Oh, and I saw Michael Phelps at dinner so that was alright. J The only complaint I have is that the altitude in Colorado and my asthma have been butting heads the whole time!
I am extremely humbled and grateful today. This morning I was able to eat with a Paralympic athlete. HE became blind at the age of 14 due to a flu shot. Something about his spirit and his heart was so incredible and enlightening! His heart reminded me that there is so much more to being just an athlete and that our character off the court should be just the same. An athlete should always be finding ways to win in life: having great character, composure, always working for others and preparing yourself daily for your future. Whether he knows it or not, he inspired me today through my play! I didn’t have the best day performance-wise, but I was able to hold my head up afterwards because I did all that I could do. I am so thankful to be here and I guarantee this training is preparing me to be back on the court with my team.