“Bex” follows pre-med, volleyball path simultaneously at Elon

Elon senior volleyball player Megan McMahon has lived all over the United States and balanced a pre-med major and Division I athletes during her four years in college. Photo by Sara Hudak, staff photographer.

Her real name is Megan McMahon, but everyone associated with volleyball just calls her “Bex.”

“It’s so funny to even say Megan,” said volleyball head coach Mary Tendler.

Photo by Sara Hudak, staff photographer.

The nickname, which has nothing to do with her real name whatsoever, came from a senior on the team when Megan was an incoming freshman in 2008.

“During the summer we all email each other back and forth just keeping in touch,” McMahon said. “The summer before my freshman year of college I got one from one of the seniors, and she was like,’Oh by the way, Megan, we decided your nickname is going to be Bex.’ Me being a little freshman, I was just like, “Well I don’t really know how this works but I’m just going to go with it,’ and two months into the season, everyone was calling me ‘Bex.’”

According to Elon University’s volleyball website, McMahon is from Naperville, Ill., which is right outside of Chicago. But she said California and Connecticut are really home to her.

Born in California, her family moved to Connecticut when she was just two years old. Before kindergarten, the McMahon family relocated back to central California, but it was back to Connecticut before she entered the third grade. After spending five years in Connecticut, it was back to McMahon’s hometown in California. Three years later, off to Illinois she went, where she was recruited to play volleyball at Elon. Confusing enough?

“From Chicago it’s an hour and a half flight to North Carolina,” McMahon said. “But of course three days after graduation, my parents moved back to California. So the hour and a half flight turned into an entire day to get home.”

After coming to college, McMahon lost track of everywhere her family has lived. But for the record, it’s currently Connecticut.

Moving to a lot of different places, but never to the South, impacted McMahon’s decision on where to go to school

“I’ve never lived in the South. I kind of wanted to try a different culture,” McMahon said. “I liked the volleyball program here and the athletic department. I like how they give you the image of more than just an athlete here because I was trying to be more than an athlete and I needed a program that supported that.”

As a freshman, McMahon admitted to being a bit intimidated by Tendler. But after four years in her program, it’s all changed.

“Not gonna lie, I was a little bit intimidated by coach (Tendler) coming in. Now, she might say differently, but I kind of view it as we’re like friends in a way,” McMahon said. “We’re low key, and we joke with each other a lot. Even in my last season, I would mess up in a game and she would give me this look and I would be like ‘I know coach. I’m sorry.’”

Tendler agreed with McMahon.

“I love Megan,” Tendler said. “She’s a great person and she’s fun to be around. She’s a smart player, always thinking outside the box, which I like because I was that type of player.”

When McMahon arrived at Elon, she had plans to balance volleyball and a pre-med program. Four years later as a biochemistry major, she will be applying for medical school in the coming months.

“I came in and said to people that I played volleyball and I’m pre-med,” McMahon said. “Everyone was just like, ‘Really? You’re going to do that? You can’t do that.’ So many people just discounted it, and I was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to show that you’re wrong.’”

According to teammate Nickie Halbert, McMahon is extremely competitive, both on and off the court, which is something that might have had an impact on her still striving for pre-med while juggling volleyball.

“Bex is extremely competitive. She’s probably one of the most competitive girls on the team,” Halbert said. “Off the court, she’s the same way. She’s very competitive when it comes to tests and stuff. She tells me stories about how her and her classmates would have competitions on who could get the best grade on a test.”

McMahon is a girl with a plan. The goal is to return home to California and attend medical school at a University of California school.

“I would like to go to a school like UC-Davis or UC-San Diego,” she said. “It’s where I’m from, so I’d like to return.”

Over McMahon’s time at Elon, the school has changed a lot, particularly on the food side. McMahon has had a meal plan all four years, and the plan has constantly been changing.

“I don’t remember a year it hasn’t changed,” McMahon said. “Even now, I just hand them my Phoenix Card and am like ‘I don’t really know how this works anymore. Can you just make it swipe so I can pay?’”

Now as a senior, McMahon has many things she can look back on and remember about her time at Elon.

“My junior season we were playing App State at home,” she said. “Whoever won the game would win our North division. It was one of those games where we all walked into the gym and we knew we were going to do it. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that we weren’t going to win the game.”

Off the court, she’s made friends that have really helped her get through everything. They’re something she said she will miss most about being at Elon.

“The thing about being on a team which people don’t always realize is it’s like a family,” McMahon said. “You don’t always get along, and you have fights, but at the end of the day, you’re always there for each other.“

Time’s up for “Bex” at Elon, but she’s left her mark on the program both as a leader and as a student.

“She’s fun to be around and a great personality,” Tendler said. “She’s worked her tail off and she’s very passionate about what she does. She’s great.”

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