SALT LAKE CITY — Judge Memorial freshman Meredith Gross has been named captain of the U.S. Women’s ParaBeach Volleyball team that played in Pingtan, China. She, along with teammates Skye McDermott (Wisconsin) and Autumn Reagan (Kansas), represented the United States at the first Women’s ParaBeach World Series Event May 9-12, and won a silver medal.
Meredith was born without her left forearm and hand, but that hasn’t stopped this 14-year-old from embracing the challenge of having one hand in a two-handed world. In elementary school, she played the violin and piano; she also played basketball and was goalie for her soccer team. When she was 11, Meredith found her true passion: volleyball.
With the help and ingenuity of former Judge head volleyball coach Matt Carlson, Meredith learned how to play volleyball with just one hand. Video of Meredith playing in a local beach tournament in January 2018 made its way to the manager for the U.S. Sitting Volleyball Team. Meredith attended her first A2 camp for sitting volleyball in Edmond, Okla. last March. It was her first time playing any sport with other limb-deficient athletes and it opened her eyes to the world of adaptive sports.
At the urging of the USA Volleyball sitting coaches, Meredith was fitted for her first prosthetic last May. Learning to play with the new “limb” was challenging, but Meredith eventually learned to adapt her game to play with two arms.
In January, the IOC announced it was adding Standing Beach Volleyball to the Paralympic roster, expecting it to be included in the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Games.
With this trip to China, Meredith has visited 12 countries on six continents. She’s thrilled to represent her country and hopes her team’s hard work and dedication will bring home a medal in May.