Megan Cleverly has always been into sports. Soccer, volleyball and lacrosse, she played everything; but it was ultimately lacrosse, which she began at age seven, that won her heart.
“I knew since sixth grade that was the sport I wanted to play in college,” she says. That was when she started playing club lacrosse. “I stopped soccer in eighth grade to really focus on lacrosse.”
Megan loved the competitive nature of the sport and the variety of playing the midfield position, with its elements of offense and defense. And the draw: the face off in the center of the field that decides control of the ball, which Megan found she had a gift for.
“I always had naturally great stick skills,” she says. “And I’m left handed, which also gives you an advantage.”
“She’s always been good at the draw,” adds Megan’s mother, Maria. “She just has this special technique of being able to jump up and use one arm, one hand high.”
It wasn’t long before Megan’s skills began to attract the attention of college recruiters.
“The recruiting process is insanely early,” she says. “It started when I was a freshman.”
By the time of her sophomore year at Middletown High School, Megan had committed to play lacrosse at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. It was also when she realized she needed to take her game to the next level.
“I just knew that on the field training wasn’t going to be enough and I had to get into a gym to really focus on my speed and strength,” Megan says. “I knew I had to get an edge above all the other players if I wanted to be serious about playing college, actually playing on the field.”
Maria and her husband John knew they had to support Megan in that goal, and together they began researching options for personal training.
“It’s very competitive in Division 1 — You’re competing against your teammates to get playing time,” Maria says. “We knew that if we found the right place she would really succeed with it.”
It was Players Fitness and Performance that kept showing up in their research, and a bit of synchronicity suggested it was meant to be.
“PFP was right across from my office,” Maria says. “I didn’t know what it was, but I would pass it every day in the morning.”
Megan knew immediately that it was the place for her. “I did the evaluation and after that I knew that was going to be the place,” she says. “You could just tell the trainers were good at what they do.”
And so beginning in 2016, in her junior year, Megan began working hard in the off season, building her speed and endurance, increasing her overall strength and particularly that of her off-hand to further enhance her performance in the draw.
The results were unmistakable. “When I first got there I could only do three perfect push-ups,” Megan says. “Now I can do 20 push-ups. That’s good improvement.”
But it wasn’t just physical strength Megan would need to succeed in division one lacrosse — strength of will, character and mental tenacity would be needed as well.
“When Megan first came in she was already a high-level athlete,” says PFP Founder Andrew Simpson. “What we found though was she didn’t realize how special she could be, and she didn’t realize that she had leadership qualities within her. Bringing that side out, bringing her mindset to another level was the key we could use to open a door for her.”
Megan has seen progress here that is as clear as her gains in push-ups. “I was never shy, but they taught me how to be confident on the field and confident in my skills,” she says. “To know how to take wins — and losses — and how to be humble. How to prepare mentally for big games; that’s really important in sports.”
She’s worked hard and seen the results, and now Megan is getting the accolades too. PFP has named her April’s Athlete of the Month, and she couldn’t be more thrilled.
“I felt really honored to be recognized by that group,” she says. “There’s so many great athletes around me that are really gifted. It made me feel proud about the athlete and person I have become.”
Megan’s a senior now, and will start her first year at UMBC in the fall, where she’s considering studying computer or chemical engineering. And looking forward to playing lacrosse on a whole new level.
“For my first year of college what I really want to do is hopefully get some playing time,” she says. “It’s hard for freshman to get playing time but I want to see the field and start in a few games.”
And so, there’s no senior slow down for Megan, who is keeping her collegiate goals in focus, and planes to keep working out at PFP in the summers and over winter breaks during her college career. Because it’s by focusing on her intentions for want to become better, to be better, that she will reach her goals. All of them.
“To be the best athlete and person I can be for myself and my teammates,” she says. “That really sums it up.”
That’s Megan Cleverly’s why. What’s your why?