Meghan O’Malley To Attend U.S. Naval Academy
Austin Tennis Academy veteran Meghan O’Malley will sign her letter of intent to attend the United States Naval Academy on Wednesday evening while the community comes together to celebrate.
“I am fortunate to have grown up at ATA,” Meghan said.
Meghan has been a consistent staple in the programs at ATA since she was 10. When she looks back on it all, it is the people who stand out the most.
“I am grateful to have trained with great tennis coaches who are also great people,” Meghan said. “They commanded that I give my best on the court and they were dedicated to making me a better player. Most importantly, they cared about me as a person, not just after a match or during a tournament weekend, but every day. I have so many great memories, so many moments that I will remember the rest of my life.”
Meghan has consistently ranked among the 20 best girls in Texas in her age group, and the top 150 in the United States. She is also a 2-time National Champion as a member of the Dream Team in Junior Team Tennis. Just last weekend, Meghan reached the semifinals of her draw at USTA Texas Excellence. With plenty of on court success, it is her personal growth and perspective off the court that has been Meghan’s biggest takeaway from her time in the sport.
“ATA has taught me resilience, discipline, dedication, and commitment. Playing tennis has provided me with a foundation of some pretty amazing life lessons. ATA encouraged me to be a good tennis player but also a citizen of significance. I think that’s the biggest difference with ATA — it provides us with a culture to give back and to grow to be a leader. I think the culture of ATA led me to think about what I want as an adult. I want a life of purpose, to be part of something meaningful, something bigger than myself.”
With her strong sense of mindfulness and connection to citizenship (Meghan recently raised over $5k for Wounded Warriors), the Naval Academy was a natural fit. More importantly, though, Meghan has been well acquainted with the Navy for as long as she can recall.
“My dad was an officer in the Navy, so it has always been a part of my life,” Meghan said. “I grew up knowing that the Naval Academy was special. I knew the Academy would provide me with a strong academic education and outstanding opportunities to develop leadership skills. But it was my visits to Annapolis and to the Yard where I really learned that it is an exceptional place. Everyone works hard and everyone has a strong drive to succeed.”
Meghan will join a Navy Women’s Tennis Team that is about half way through the 2015-2016 season and is 7-4. The team competes in The Patriot League, where historically they have made 4 tournament finals appearances in 8 seasons.
“I am really excited to be a part of the Naval Academy’s tennis team. I immediately connected with Coach Puryear, Coach Pedergnana, and the players on the team. I’m excited to continue to take my game to the next level and continue to compete.”
Meghan will also enter a tough academic environment. As a science and technical school, The Naval Academy focuses heavily on science and math, with military education that includes ethics and leadership training.
“While I don’t know exactly what I want to study, I’m leaning towards International Relations then pursuing a law degree. The Naval Academy faculty invests a lot of time in helping students choose a field of study so I’m also going to be open to new ideas and experiences. My summers will be filled with hands on training on our nation’s fleet. I will spend time on different kinds of ships, in different parts of the world and will have the opportunity to spend summers abroad. I’m most excited about being on an Aircraft Carrier and learning more about Naval Aviation.”
Meghan will rely on academic foundations developed during her six years as a student at ATA College Prep.
“I think ATA CP is a very special and unique place. The small class sizes made it easy to have meaningful discussions, and it enabled me to have strong relationships with my teachers and my peers. At ATA CP, I learned how to learn, and I learned how to enjoy the process of learning. Of course grades are important at CP but it’s also about being curious and having an open mind for new experiences.”
For her senior year, Meghan is attending Vandegrift High School in Austin – on of the top public schools in the city.
“I’m enjoying my first and last year as a public high school student. It’s a much different experience and I’ve learned a lot from it. First, most of my classes have over 30 students in them. I have dedicated teachers, but they don’t have flexibility to make sure all the students understand the topics. There have been many times where I must choose between academic or tennis success. Also, teachers are bound by many rules. They’re sympathetic when I have a big tournament coming up or when I miss several days of school for tennis, but they can’t change test dates or project due dates. This has helped my time management, and I’m learning to operate on less sleep. But, it has made me appreciate the ATA CP teachers; they looked out for my development as a whole.”
Through the whole process – nearly a decade of tennis training and accomplishment – the lasting sentiment for Meghan has nothing to do with tennis.
“I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that I am responsible for my success and my happiness. Every experience has the opportunity to provide me with things to complain about, thing to be grateful for and things to learn. I have the ability to choose what I focus on.”
Please join the ATA community as we celebrate with Meghan and her family at her Signing Ceremony this Wednesday evening at 6:30 in the ATA Fitness Center.