April 2, 2004
When asked what it means to Dream Big, Ohio State gymnast Liz Meaney responded by saying, "Setting goals and doing everything you can to accomplish them." She continued to say, "It is easy to set goals, but the most important and rewarding part is working at those goals and achieving them."
And that is exactly what she has done. Through two seasons as a Buckeye, Meaney has managed to become one of the team's most steady performers, competing in all but one meet. In 2003, she was named Second Team All-Big Ten and was also named the team's Most Inspirational, Most Dedicated, and also received the Coaches Award. All was accomplished in her sophomore season, and all while not being a scholarship athlete.
Meaney began her career as a walk-on, but after proving herself in all aspects, her coach announced that she would be put on scholarship for the rest of her collegiate career. "Her contributions have been tremendous and she averaged a 9.8 or 9.9 on all three events she competes for us," said Ohio State coach Larry Cox.
Quite an accomplishment, one would think, but not for Meaney. Being on scholarship was never a goal for her. In her eyes, there is no difference between the two.
"There is no separation between scholarship athletes and walk-ons at Ohio State," Meaney said. "Everyone is a valuable part of the team. I just try to take one step at a time and try not to get too stressed, and too far ahead of myself."
It is that attitude that has helped Meaney to stay balanced, not only in the gym, but in the classroom as well. In addition to being an All-Big Ten performer, the aspiring child psychologist added OSU Scholar Athlete, and Academic All-Big Ten honors to her already impressive resume.
However, none of her recent success has come easy for the junior. As a child, Meaney would watch gymnasts through a window while at ballet practice. She would beg her aunt to let her try gymnastics, but her aunt feared she would get hurt. Nevertheless, Meaney was persistent and eventually her aunt surrendered. Her collegiate career has seen its share of difficulties as well, as she has been hampered by shoulder, arm, an constant ankle injuries, and more recently, adversity within the team. But she has refused to let anything shake her.
"We went through a lot of adversity to start with [this year], but the team did a good job of pulling together to compete well in the first few meets, in spite of it," she said.
Regardless of the circumstances, Meaney will continue to push through because that it the kind of person she strives to be. She is dedicated to her sport and to her team, and no matter what, she adds, "Do what you know to do. Give it 100 percent. Take what you do in practice and carry it over to competition. Be consistent and never lose sight of your goals."