By Katie Benoit
Sophomore Mike Neary traveled across the country from his tiny beach town in Ventura, California to be a student athlete at Springfield College. Neary is a member of the Men’s Volleyball team, which has won nine National Championships, and is led by Coach Charlie Sullivan who served as a United States Olympic coach in the Rio Olympics.
Volleyball was a big selling point for the setter, but the Springfield College community is also what made Neary so confident in his decision to attend the college. “It’s a positive school. Everyone is on the same page as far as attitude,” he said.
Neary went on to explain how he liked the small environment, and how people at Springfield College tend to be more social and friendly than those on the West Coast.
Although Neary is currently an exploratory studies major, he is interested in Springfield’s new environmental studies program.
Neary ended up visiting Springfield College after being recruited by Coach Sullivan, and decided it was the school for him. He started playing volleyball his freshman year of high school after being inspired by his older brother, who played at Ohio State. His brother helped him learn more about volleyball and improve his game.
Most of Neary’s foundation came from beach volleyball. He admitted that he wasn’t the best player when he first started out, but improved his sophomore year and ultimately ended up playing for one of the top volleyball programs in the country.
Perhaps one of the best things about the Springfield experience for Neary is the bond he has created with his teammates – one that many SC students can relate to within their own teams, majors, and organizations. “We are all best friends and like brothers,” he said in regards to his team.
Many members of the volleyball team also came from California. Neary mentioned that he had played club matches in high school against some of his future teammates.
Going to a school so far way from home did make Neary a bit nervous but he seems to fit in just fine at Springfield College, stating “I’m glad I made the choice I did to move across the country.”