Second transfer is the charm

Aasia McNeil ’24 took a winding path to find her way to Lenoir-Rhyne, but now that she’s here, it feels like home. The exercise science major and Statesville, N.C. native started her studies at Catawba Valley Community College, then transferred to Elizabeth City State University before landing at LR in the fall of 2022.

Aasia McNeil

“I really do love Hickory and the culture here. There wasn’t anything bad or wrong about Elizabeth City State, either. It just was not the right place for me, and I had to recognize that,” McNeil shared. “I wanted to be someplace smaller and closer to home.”

The volleyball team was another strong draw for McNeil, who has played competitively since third grade. “Coach Barringer tried to recruit me out of high school, when she was the coach at William Peace University in Raleigh,” McNeil explained. “When I decided to transfer, and I learned she was the new coach here, I reached out. Thankfully, it worked out.”

“My main goal was to be challenged, not only on the court, but in the classroom, to push myself to be a better player and a better student. I’m definitely getting that here.”

Even though she isn’t playing volleyball right now as she recovers from a rotator cuff injury, McNeil still feels the bond with her coach and her teammates.

“With an injury, mental recovery is as important as physical recovery. Being here has really helped me. The girls are so encouraging, even though I’m not playing. You can tell it’s more than just the score for them. It’s about togetherness.”

Her recovery is also bringing a closer connection between her academics and athletics. The surgery and rehab process led her to major in exercise science with an eye toward working in physical therapy.

“I’m taking anatomy and physiology right now, and we just started the bones this week,” she said. “I’m in rehab right now with the team trainer working with the team, so it’s really cool to see how those types of things work, especially having gone through it.”

McNeil believes her previous college experiences led her to being more prepared and more appreciative of coming to LR.

“I know a lot of people are sometimes scared to transfer, even athletes. But if you feel like you’re not in the right place, you have to go with your gut and find your home, the place that makes you feel like yourself.”

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