Kreklow Living Her Dream Wearing USA
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - Molly Kreklow is no rookie to the sport of volleyball. She has been preparing her entire life for international competition and there is no sign of her stopping anytime soon.
Kreklow grew up in Minnesota and was taught by her mother how to set in second grade. Ever since, she has played volleyball with aspirations of reaching her ultimate goal of wearing a USA jersey and representing her country in the sport she loves.
Kreklow accomplished this goal when she made the U.S. Girls' Youth National Team that won gold at the NORCECA Girls' Youth Continental Championship in 2008, which she described as the happiest moment in her life.
Now at age 18, Kreklow will expand her international experience and compete as a setter for the 12-member U.S. Women's Junior National Team that will travel to Tijuana, Mexico, to battle in the NORCECA Women's Junior U-20 Continental Championship. The team will arrive in Tijuana and begin training on July 4 and will compete from July 6-11. Through the years, Kreklow's family has supported her dreams and ambitions for playing at the national level. She credits her mother for teaching her the basics of setting when she first began playing along with her uncle, Wayne Kreklow, who is her current head coach at the University of Missouri. She actually graduated early from high school last December to jump start her career at the collegiate level and has one spring season under her belt at Missouri.
"It's a neat family feeling being able to play for him," Kreklow said. "I have been coming to camp since I was little and it feels like a home away from home. I love it out here and actually expected the transition to be tougher."
Kreklow, the only player on the 2010 U.S. Women's Junior National Team who was enrolled in college this past spring, continues to grow and improve as a student of the game and has intentions of furthering her career as far as she can possibly go, both collegiately and with USA Volleyball.
"I just want to continue my career with the USA program and be the best I can be," Kreklow said. "I also want to do well in college, of course be an All-American, and to continue with some professional overseas play."
Aside from her successes as an athlete with impressive talent, experience and skill, Kreklow has the mindset and intuition of a champion and competitive setter.
"I like the fact that a lot of things depend on the setter-I like the pressure," Kreklow said. "It may sound strange because a lot of people don't like to be put in those types of situations, but I love it! I also like to set because of the natural leadership role that comes with it."
As a member of the U.S. Women's Junior National Team, Kreklow is excited about the caliber of the players. The team is getting ready for the NORCECA Women's Junior Continental Championship and Kreklow, from a setter's perspective, feels that the team continues to improve and has what it takes to put on competitive tournament play.
"All of our hitters are extremely talented," Kreklow said. "It is a game of mistakes and it depends on the day and time, but everyone has the ability to be a go-to hitter. The team has improved a lot since we started training and we are continuously getting more comfortable with playing as a team. We are competitive, ready to go and pumped to play."
Kreklow believes that the chemistry of the team will also contribute to the success the team will have in Mexico. She is especially looking forward to sharing the experience with her teammates who are also her best friends. Despite the competition involved in fighting for positions within the team, there is great team camaraderie and she is eager to lead them.
"I think just going to compete and wearing USA on our back and having that experience are well worth the training and hard work in itself," Kreklow said. "The girls have gotten really close, they are my best friends. All of us have been here before and played together; we have great chemistry even though we are competing for our spots. No matter what, we are all one team and we have one common goal. We all have the mindset that it is about putting the team before self; that makes it easier for everyone to get along."
Kreklow is looking forward to continuing her dream within the USAV pipeline and playing internationally. Kreklow especially hopes to have a chance to face the host country in the upcoming NORCECA Women's Junior Continental Championship.
"Hopefully we will get to play Mexico," Kreklow said. "We battled with them in Puerto Rico at the 2008 NORCECA Girls' Youth Continental Championship and it was a great match. Mexico is the home team; it would be great to beat them."