Prep of the Year: Megan Minturn

Hollis Belger

For many aspiring collegiate athletes, COVID-19 threatened their recruitment journey. The fate of high school sports was uncertain, and for even the most dedicated prospects, motivation waned. But, after some sadness and reflection, senior Megan Minturn seized the moment, turning quarantine into an opportunity to be the best lacrosse player she could be. In fact, the pandemic halting the sport she loved ended up being her ticket to greatness.

Racing past defenders, Megan powers down the field towards the goal during the NCS championship game (Photo courtesy of Sam Kimball)

Admiring her older brother’s drive and passion for lacrosse, Minturn followed in his footsteps, joining a club lacrosse team in fourth grade. Minturn’s commitment grew from there; moving from Wolfpack Lacrosse to Tenacity to other Bay Area travel teams, she ended up on the first West Coast Steps Girls Lacrosse (STEPS) team at the end of 2019, when her athletic career began accelerating to the next level. 

“I think [lacrosse] started getting really serious when I started playing for STEPS. Before I was on my other club teams, I was just kind of doing [lacrosse] just to do it. I wasn’t really getting any kind of exposure to college coaches with those teams. But once I started playing for STEPS and contacting coaches and getting looks at tournaments, it started to really pick up,” Minturn said. 

Minturn’s skills carried her to great success in high school. Making Redwood’s girls’ varsity lacrosse team as a freshman validated Minturn’s athletic abilities and gave her reassurance on the field. 

“[Being on varsity] definitely boosted my confidence a little bit. I think that [during] my freshman and sophomore year I wasn’t very confident in lacrosse at all, and I struggled with that on the field,” Minturn said. “But being on varsity kind of showed that I’m not as bad as I maybe thought I was. It hyped me up a little bit. I was playing with seniors and girls who I still look up to and were so good. I was able to get more exposure to those girls, and I think that helped with my stability and play in general.” 

Minturn has not embarked on her lacrosse journey alone. Her twin sister Grace has been by her side every step of the way. Having played together on club teams in elementary school, Grace and Megan now dominate Redwood girls’ lacrosse, capitalizing on their twin connection to keep each other, and their teammates, on their toes.

“I think [Megan and I] hold each other accountable. That has been something that we’ve tried to do with the two of us, but then we try to implement that on the Redwood lacrosse team,” Grace said. 

Grace recognizes that her success in lacrosse is partly derived from the dynamic between her and her sister. Their mentality has pushed each other to great athletic achievements and has enhanced their play overall.

“We’re both pretty competitive. If I know she’s going to go out and do wall ball for 10 minutes, maybe I should go out and do wall ball for 10 minutes. ‘Oh, she’s doing a 30-minute run? Well, I’m going to go do a 30-minute run. …’ And it goes both ways. I think we motivate each other to do things that we may not want to do. That definitely makes us stronger, both mentally and physically,” Grace said.

Both Minturns took advantage of their downtime during quarantine, training intensely in order to prepare for whenever their next lacrosse season would happen. For Megan, this period of time helped her transform from a primarily defensive player to a diverse and dynamic offender.

“I had nothing else to do [during COVID-19]. So I live right next to a little park and my sister and I would drive to the park, bring a portable goal and set it up. We’d literally be out there shooting all the time, doing one-v-ones and working on our shots,” Megan said. “Before COVID-19, I was a sole defender. I hated going on the offensive end. But COVID-19 was when I really worked on my shooting. And then after Grace and I played lacrosse for like two hours, I’d go on a run. I did a lot of running specifically, not any weights or anything like that. I would just run and my fitness started to get a lot better.”

Megan’s work during the pandemic improved her play significantly. Unable to travel to showcases or tournaments for scouting opportunities, Megan invested her time into developing film to send to potential recruiters. On July 12, 2021, Megan officially committed to play Division I lacrosse at the University of Michigan. 

Although she will be playing far from home, Megan is ready to embrace the academic and athletic opportunities she will find at Michigan and looks forward to more inspiration from her new teammates.

“It’s a little scary and intimidating, but I’m really excited. I think I’m just really excited to be able to play with the other girls and meet all of them. They are probably going to be my best friends. But I’m definitely intimidated because you might be a star in Marin or a star somewhere else, but then you go somewhere, and that isn’t really applicable anymore. All the girls I’m going to be playing with are insane,” Megan said. 

Bouldering through a defender, Megan stays determined to win for her team (Photo courtesy of Sam Kimball).

On her way out, Megan is leaving her high school lacrosse career on a high note. After scoring the winning goal in the Marin County Athletic League Championship (MCALs) game at the end of April against Marin Catholic, Megan, alongside Grace, subsequently led the team to Redwood girl’s lacrosse’s first North Coast Section (NCS) title earlier in May, a huge thrill.

“Our freshman year we won MCALs, so even just winning MCALs [this year] was a total full-circle moment. But [back in 2019], we lost in the NCS quarter round. We didn’t make it very far my freshman year. So going to the farthest point possible [this year] is so cool to me and it shows that all of our hard work has been paying off. After not having a season because of COVID-19 this could be no better way to finish the whole year. Everyone I talked to has said that this is the best year that we could have possibly made it this far. It’s insane. I think we’re all really excited just to embrace it for the last time. It’s our last show,” Megan said. 

Equally inspired, Grace recognizes that winning NCS has meaning beyond just a title: her team has made history. 

“It felt like I was able to provide something for my team and be a part of something that’s way bigger than just the 21 girls on the team. We are making Redwood history. It was so exciting; it felt like everything that we have sacrificed and everything we worked for was finally paid off and it was good to be able to give that back to the girls and the underclassmen and our coach Lauren. It was just so satisfying. It was a kind of recognition for the seniors from our freshman year because they played a huge part in our success [today]. Now we have become the role models like the seniors were to us,” Grace said.  

Cheering on Megan, a group of seniors proudly hold up a poster to encourage their friend on the field (Photo courtesy of Sam Kimball).

Grace is committed to playing Division III lacrosse at Claremont Mckenna College. This means that for the first time since middle school, the Minturns won’t be playing on the same team, and they will find themselves on fields on the opposite sides of the country. Grace is confident that Megan’s spirit and determination will carry on into her collegiate career. 

“The mindset of ‘the grind never stops’ is something that [Megan] portrays. It’s definitely something that I’m gonna keep in mind in college. I mean, we’re both very like-minded but she’s definitely on one-hundred percent of the time. She’s a big part of my motivation,” Grace said. “It’s going to be weird, but, I’m going to think ‘Megan’s out there hitting the wall in Michigan, then I’m going to be hitting the wall down here in Claremont.’”