By Barrett Segesta
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
As long as she can remember, Sarita Mikals dreamed of getting the chance to attend TCU. Mikals grew up in Fort Worth visiting TCU as often as she could. Whether it was going to Horned Frog games or just visiting the campus, Mikals knew that this was where she wanted to end up.
“TCU was always my dream school,” Mikals said. “I grew up around here, I lived 25 minutes away and TCU was always my top target. I used to go to most of the home games whether it was basketball or volleyball. TCU is just a beautiful, small school that I have really enjoyed and always wanted to be a part of.”
Early on she discovered one of her major passions in life was sports; more specifically volleyball. Mikals worked hard throughout high school gaining the recognition of many college coaches across Texas. As the college recruiting carousel became more serious, she fixed her sights on TCU. This was the opportunity she had been dreaming of since she was a kid.
“When I was going through my recruiting, I was playing club and my coach was Lauren Otto, who was playing for TCU at the time,” Mikals said. “I was constantly asking her to talk to coach Prentice [Lewis] for me. After that I talked to TCU quite a bit, but they said they could only offer me a scholarship for three of my four years. This was a big problem for me because I needed four years. Realizing that I could not get all four years with a scholarship I decided to play my freshman year at the University of Houston.”
Although this was not where Mikals imagined she would land, she was not going to let this hold her back from giving it her all. She could have easily moped for months but she took this experience in stride with a great deal of poise and enthusiasm. For the 2013 season, playing volleyball at Houston would give her a chance to refine her skills and become better. Her time playing for the Cougars would prove to be a valuable lesson of maturity and growth. This was Mikals time to show strength, fighting to never give up on her goals.
“My time at Houston was a great experience, I was playing every game as a freshman and practicing at a higher level,” Mikals explained. “Getting that playing time as a freshman was big for me. I was able to adjust to the new pace of the game, preparing me in the best way possible. I became more court-smart. Being a freshman, getting that much playing time and hard practice has me helped tremendously today.”
The effort that Mikals put forth at Houston was certainly paying off. She was molding into a more versatile player while gaining a greater confidence on the court. This swagger she held still had the attention of the coaching staff in Fort Worth. Mikals, despite having a splendid season with the Cougars, decided that it was time for a change. With TCU in the back of her mind and a possible scholarship opening, Mikals gave it one more chance and approached TCU.
“The first school I contacted when I was eligible to transfer was TCU. I heard that they had an open scholarship and the wheels started to turn. This was something that I had prayed about and talked to my friends and parents about. I started crying when I heard the news, I couldn’t believe it was real. It made me appreciate all the hard work that I had endured.”
TCU coach Prentice Lewis was excited about the new addition, having missed out on Mikals the year before.
“We were happy to hear from Mikals after her first year at Houston,” said Lewis. “We didn’t expect that we were going to get her this time. She had decided that she wanted to transfer but we didn’t know where to exactly. Once we were legally allowed to, we talked to her and things worked out very well. We ended up with a great player.”
Mikals had finally landed back home, accomplishing one of her life long goals. Even though she achieved her goals, Mikals claims that there is still plenty of hard work left. The road to becoming a big-time player on TCU’s team will not be a cake walk, but Mikals says she is ready for the challenge.
“Coming in not knowing about how I would fit into a role on the team was tough to think about,” Mikals said. “I came in with an attitude that I had to work hard, none of this would be given to me. It would take time but I was ready to put forth the effort to earn my spot.”
Through Mikals, fans can see a hard working young woman who has risen above the challenges she’s faced. Mikals is a testament to never ever giving up on a dream no matter how tall the mountains stand in front of you. She serves as a role model for young aspiring athletes, making them all believe that those dreams are always attainable. Fans can only hope that she keeps driving and strives for excellence season after season. The sky is the limit for Mikals and thankfully TCU fans have been invited along for the ride.