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Injury doesn't stop hard-hitting junior

January 20, 2011
By Nik Zirounis
A couple years ago, Megan Carney burst onto the scene for the Fitch softball team.

In her rookie season, Carney crushed the ball at a .400 clip and was selected Second Team All-Federal League. The prospects for a sensational sophomore season seemed simple for Megan. Unfortunately, in the third-to-last game of the basketball season, the dual-sport star tore her ACL and had to remain idle for the entire softball campaign. That is why what Carney completed over this past Jan. 8 weekend was absolutely incredible.

Carney was selected as one of the few girls from across the nation to participate in the Queen of Diamonds softball tournament at Kent State University. This tournament is in its 17th year and is the largest fastpitch showcase of its kind in the United States. In order to be chosen as one of those select few, Carney had to be nominated back in November then she had to sit nervously through weeks of anticipation waiting to hear if she had qualified. Not only is athletic prowess a deciding factor in being chosen to play in the QDSN, but academic achievement, ability, potential, graduation year, referrals and school involvement also played a vital role. When Carney finally got the email notifying her that she was part of the group, she was ecstatic.

“I was very excited,” she said over the phone last week. “Knowing I was going to compete with so many great athletes from around the country made me feel great.”

In order to compete at a high level, however, Carney’s knee also had to feel great. The fact that she went two-for-two with a double to be named MVP of the second game of the weekend proved that her knee was just fine.

“Winning the MVP helped me get my confidence back,” said Carney. “I got past the mental part of the injury. Taking a year off made me appreciate (playing) more.”

One of Carney’s coaches on the Fitch softball team thought that winning the MVP award said a lot about Carney's character.

“(Megan) accomplished an amazing feat,” said assistant head coach Steve Ward via email. “Not only did she play at such a high level at an invitation only tournament, but really her story is about overcoming adversity.”

The current Fitch junior will have to overcome a little more to be in tip top shape once the spring season comes along. Carney realizes that she has a long way to go to completely enjoy knee injury freedom. That is why she has been doing a lot of jump stretch exercising during the cold months and will continue to play as much softball as she can both indoors and outdoors. All of that conditioning and practice will better Carney in the few areas where she senses that she can get better.

“I would like to improve the mental aspects of hitting,” she said. “With my knee, I would like to work on coming in on the ball from the outfield and sliding in games. You can’t really tell (how well the knee is) until you play real games.”

A healthy junior year followed by a spectacular senior season will hopefully land Carney a scholarship to a Division I college. Carney is wishing to get a full ride to a MAC school, but she isn’t being too picky. Talk to her for a few minutes and it is evident that she is more than just a jock. As mentioned, the QDSN uses academics as one of its criteria and since Carney carries a 4.0 GPA that wasn’t an obstacle for her. In fact, she is very philosophical when it comes to her school work.

“The key to success in life is an education,” Carney said smartly. “Grades are very important to me. If I can’t get an athletic scholarship, I have academics to fall back on.”

For now, Carney will concentrate on helping the Falcons succeed in her comeback campaign. It is not surprising that the junior put her team’s accomplishments ahead of her personal ones when discussing her goals for this spring.

“We want to finish over .500,” Carney explained. “We want to do better in the Federal League and beat (Canton) McKinley twice (Fitch beat McKinley once last year) and win a district championship.”

If the Falcons follow the leadership and determination of its MVP outfielder, then no level of achievement should be considered too high.

Article Photos

Photo special to the Town Crier
Megan Carney was chosen to play in the prestigious Queen of Diamonds softball tournament, even after an injury sidelined her sophomore season and kept her off the field.



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