Aug 2, 2012
Durham, N.C. — At 6 feet 3 inches, Durham native Megan Hodge is a dominant presence on the undefeated U.S. Olympics women's volleyball team, contributing 18 points in the most recent win over China.
"She's one of the greats," said David Norman, Hodge's former teacher at Riverside High.
"I remember commenting, 'I can't wait until the London Olympics, because I have a feeling we'll see Megan Hodge participating," former Riverside High Principal Jim Key said.
Hodge started playing volleyball school in middle school.
"She was very, very grounded, had this tremendous natural talent, natural ability," her former middle school coach Kathy Bonner said.
Hodge excelled in sports at Riverside High, earning a spot on the volleyball team at the powerhouse Penn State. Friends say she never turned her back on her hometown after getting fame.
"When she would come from college, we would go out and eat and go shopping, just have a good time. Spend hours just talking about anything she wanted," her friend Carolyn Singer said.
A display at Riverside High chronicles her career, and her teachers and friends follow her career closely.
"During the NCAA championship one year, I texted her at halftime. She was in the locker room, and I said, 'If you don't hear from me, I've had a heart attack,'" Singer said.
Hodge is competing to the U.S.'s first gold medal in indoor volleyball. The team next takes on Serbia Friday.
Hodge has become an inspiration to students at her Durham middle and high schools, where father now coaches the varsity volleyball team.
"I can say to kids, 'If you've got dreams, you can reach those dreams,'" Bonner said.