July 18, 2004 – Megan Hodge, born in St. Thomas in 1988 and growing up since 1992 in North Carolina, is a member of the USA Girls' Youth National Volleyball team that is presently playing in a 2004 youth championship in Puerto Rico.
She's come a long ways for someone who started playing volleyball only in 2000, already one of the top players in her age group in the state of North Carolina. At 6 feet 2 inches, she's a member of the Triangle Volleyball Club and has received numerous awards including: being named to the 2002 PAC 6 All Conference team, 2003 USA National High Performance Camp Team, and 2004 AAU Team; being named 2004 MVP for the North Carolina Region 18's Open Division; and being invited to train the USA Women's Olympic Team in Colorado Springs in April.
There are a couple of reasons why she's risen so fast in this sport: No couch potato, before volleyball at the age of 8 she joined the Bouncing Bulldogs Jump Rope Demonstration Team, stayed with them until 2002, and was a member of the USA Jump Rope team at the World Championships in Ghent, Belgium.
But volleyball may be in her genes. Both her parents — Michael Hodge and Carmen Samuel-Hodge — are former members of the V.I. National Volleyball Team and former "All Regional" players for the Carolina Region. Here in the Virgin Islands, her uncle, Stephen Hodge, is a member of the Soldiers team in the volleyball Power League; he's also a former member of the V.I. National Volleyball Team. Two uncles — Avelino Samuel and Alberto Samuel — are former volleyball players, and her aunt Stephanie Hodge is a former Daily News Athlete of the Year.
With a grade point average of 4.04, she's a sophomore at Durham's Riverside High School.
"We are very proud of Megan. In fact, the entire Virgin Islands can be proud of her accomplishments," her grandmother, Elenda Hodge of St. Thomas, said. "She is a great role model for the youth." She added that her daughter, Elisa Hodge of St. Thomas, has gone to Puerto Rico to watch Megan play. Megan's aunt Cicely Samuel of North Carolina is also in Puerto Rico for the occasion. Local St. John artist Karen Samuel is another of Megan's aunts.
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