Math teacher Ann Meyers ’76 understands that, even in the down period between seasons, it has never been easy for student-athletes to make time for a break.
Just like the roughly 150 two-and three-sport athletes competing on Eagles teams today, most of Meyers' free time in high school—and through college—was consumed playing softball, volleyball and basketball; the latter two as a Flyer at the University of Dayton.
So in the late 1990’s, the former Eagles head volleyball coach, and a 1986 CJ Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, decided it worthwhile to reserve one morning each season for girls on all teams to take a collective time-out and gather for breakfast.
“I was finding as a coach with my team that between practice, school work and school events, we weren’t able to see what was happening in the other seasonal athletic programs,” Meyers said. “The breakfast is a way for us to take 45 minutes out of our busy schedules to stop, celebrate and give the girls a chance to connect.”
For more than 10 years now the athletic office has set aside one weekday every fall, winter and spring to host a 7 a.m. meal in the cafeteria before school for female student-athletes in season. The optional, early-morning meeting not only gives the girls time to chat with new friends, but also includes a guest speaker and a generous spread of breakfast goodies (provided this school year thanks to CJ parents Meg Begley and AnnMarie McCormick).
Speakers are asked to share how involvement with athletics positively affected their life choices. According to Meyers, hearing from women with similar experiences “allows athletes of all different backgrounds a chance to find common ground with each other and with the speaker presenting that morning.”
The September breakfast featured first-year CJ science teacher Maura Lemon, who earned Atlantic 10 all-academic honors twice while running four years with the University of Dayton track and cross country teams. In January, CJ welcomed former Ohio State University swimmer Missy Kuck (pictured) to address students. She now competes and blogs about her experiences as a professional tri-athlete.
“Find a way to maintain athletics throughout your life because it will pay off in so many more ways than just winning,” Kuck told the girls during their meal. Her message resonated with MacKenzie Aughe, a senior. Aughe stays busy by swimming for CJ, singing in the school’s pop a cappella group Vega, and participating in Irish dancing among other activities.
“I’ve competed in two triathlons and after meeting Missy, I felt inspired to keep going,” said Aughe, a future Buckeye planning to attend OSU in the fall. She competed in the Chicago Triathlon and the Great Ohioan Triathlon held in Delaware—ironically Kuck’s hometown—and recommends the grueling workout to others wanting to keep in shape.
“It helps you stay fit and healthy, but you also feel like you’ve accomplished something in the end,” she said.
Spring student-athletes looking for the motivation to stick with sports this summer are encouraged to attend the final female athlete breakfast Friday, April 27 at 7 a.m.