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Bell of the ball

by Matthew Ondesko: Managing Editor

Photos: Geoff Schneider

Most likely if you attend a sporting event at Mount Mercy Academy you will see Meghan Bell out there playing.

Bell is a four-star athlete, playing soccer, basketball, lacrosse and flag football during the school year, and, basketball and soccer during the summer. She doesn’t really know what a day off is, going from one sport to another to another.

While most student-athletes might need a long break in between, Bell gets all her rest usually a week after the first sport ends, and right before the second.

“All of the sports I play are consecutive so I go from sport to sport with about a week between each, during this time I am resting and preparing myself for the next season,” stated Bell. “I also think support from my family really helped to keep me encouraged and motivated.”

Bell just doesn’t take up space when she is out on the field/court. She is always making things happen She is a very competitive player and it shows with her teammates. Sometimes a player needs to be a little vocal on the field, and that’s Bell.

Her teammates all know it’s just part of the game. Sometimes a player needs to be firm, and aggressive, to get their point across. They don’t mean anything by it, it’s all just part of the game.

“Because we are so competitive, there is a difference between talking on the field/court and off. There is a mutual understanding and mentality during games that allows you to direct your teammates so that they understand and listen to you but don't get frustrated or upset,” explained Bell. “Sometimes you have to be more firm and aggressive during games to get your point across, but my teammates always know it's just a part of the game”.

They also know that Bell has grown into a leader. She grew up during the inaugural flag football season. Bell was tasked to be the quarterback of the first Mt. Mercy football team. She learned real quick that the girls would look to her for leadership and guidance.

After a rocky start to her football career, Bell showed the type of leader she is. She commanded the offense, and started to make quicker decision on the field. Something that she learned during practice.

“Learning to play flag football was overall a great experience. Although it was hard, it was a lot of fun because everyone on the team was learning to play at the same time so no one was getting mad or frustrated,” stated Bell. “I think my biggest challenge was really getting comfortable with throwing the ball and making quick decisions but I got more comfortable with it the more we practiced. I also had trouble directing my teammates around and telling them what to do but when I realized they looked to me for plays and guidance, I knew I had to step up into the leadership role on the field.”

As the season went on, Bell showed more poise on the field, and wasn’t afraid to take over a game. Her performance against Buffalo Seminary (134 yards passing, 109 yards rushing) showed the type of player she has become.

It also showed the type of confidence she had in yourself when everyone else was looking at her.

“The most important part of winning a game is confidence and quick decision making which I learned early in the season,” stated Bell. “If I knew there was an opening to run I had to have the confidence to know I would advance but that decision also had to be fast because my blockers could only hold the defense for a certain amount of time. It took a couple of games to get the hang of how fast-paced they were, but once I figured that out it came pretty easily. Our teamwork and trust in each other also played a big role in offensive success.”

While she was learning football this spring, she also picked up lacrosse for the first time. Bell never even picked up a lax stick until the first day of practice, and she ended making the team and starting on defense.

There were bumps in the road, especially in the early part of the year. But new Mt. Mercy lax coach Abbie Lelito had the confidence in Bell that she would grasp what she was teaching. She was right, Bell settled in - and became one of the better defenders on the team.

“This lacrosse season was my first time ever playing or even holding a lacrosse stick and I ended up being a starter on defense. The beginning of the season was rough because I was still learning the rules and the basics of the game but I found communication with my team, specifically the defense, to be one of the most important factors of the game, explained Bell. “I believe the coach of a team is the deciding factor in how far a team will go. Abbie was determined to take our team far and improve the lacrosse program at Mount Mercy and she did. She was dedicated to our team and our team's success. She taught me everything I now know about lacrosse and encouraged us to be great throughout the season, which Im very grateful for.”

As was talked about earlier, Bell learned a lot about herself though out the school year. She learned that she can take on that leadership role and run with it. It was a big step for Bell who is finishing up her junior year.

As she enters her final year at Mt. Mercy, Bell wants that feeling of winning championships again. The soccer team fell short last year, but is primed to return to the top of the mountain. Basketball has a bad taste in its mouth after falling to Mt. St. Mary in the title game. Lacrosse has huge expectations after just missing out on the playoffs. Finally, flag football will look to win the championship in their first season of being a varsity sport.

Every sport has the same thing in common, Meghan Bell plays on all of them.

“This year sports brought out a leadership role that I never really had before. I realized that If no one is on the same page then you are going to fail no matter the sport. Communication and encouragement are very important within a team and this year I stepped up to that leadership position naturally because I am very passionate about the sports I play and our success,” stated Bell. “My main goals for senior year are to be completely healthy for every season with no injuries, win at least one championship, and to have fun for my last year of high school sports.”

As college fast approaches, Bell is still undecided what she wants to do, or play, at the next level. If she has a choice, though, it would be soccer. She considers soccer her best sport, and the one she loves the most.

But, everything is still up in the air.

“If I had to choose one sport to play in college I would choose soccer because it is my favorite sport and my best sport,” stated Bell. “I am undecided about college and collegiate sports, but If I were to pick one it would be soccer.”

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