One and Not Done

After a season at the University of Miami, former Skyhawk Chloe Brown is trying to reclaim her love for volleyball after transferring to Oregon State University.

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One and Not Done

Kyle Pinnell

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One year ago Chloe Brown was riding high. Already committed to the University of Miami to play volleyball on a full-ride scholarship, she had nothing to lose after transferring to Southridge High School for her senior season.

In her single season at Southridge, the Skyhawks won 38 games, including their first 6A State Volleyball Championship. Brown also won a few personal accolades which included The Gatorade Player of the Year as the best volleyball player in the state as well as The Oregonian’s Player of the Year.

Just 12 months later, that cross-country journey to a dream school in the Sunshine State has led Brown right back home.

On January 31st Brown officially announced her decision to transfer to Oregon State University where she will now be suiting up in orange and black. After a tough freshman year, the former Skyhawk is ready to take advantage of her fresh start in the Pac-12.

MIAMI BLUES

The University of Miami had a lot of appealing aspects to Brown. She hopes to play volleyball professionally overseas, and the university has a good track record of helping players get there. Plus, like any high schooler, the idea of sunny beaches and living in one of the East Coast’s premier cities was as big of a draw as the volleyball itself.

But like any big life change, it was hard for Brown to adjust after arriving in South Florida. There was the culture shock of living in a city like Miami, along with having to cut her summer short in order to begin training for the season. While her friends back home were boating, Brown was waking up at five a.m to work out before attending summer classes.

“College is a lot different than high school and I don’t think a lot of people realize how much work it really is,” Brown said.  “I thought it would get better when I got into the season and everyone else was in school, but it didn’t really transition like that.”

Brown and current Southridge Junior Cameron Brink after winning the 6A State Championship in 2017

Brown was named a starter her freshman season and the Hurricanes went 13-12. However, she just didn’t feel right. It wasn’t a wins or losses thing either. For the first time in her life, she wasn’t happy playing the sport that she grew up loving.

At first Brown wanted to stick it out and play another year. However, her family and old coaches told her that she needed to find a place where she would be happy; it was her college experience after all.

Brown had offers from high-pedigree programs such as Duke, but choosing a school just for its volleyball prowess was the same mistake that she made when she originally committed to Miami as a sophomore at Westside Christian. Instead, she chose Oregon State, a Pac-12 school where she could ply her trade close to home.

“I picked Miami to begin with for just volleyball and so I wanted to pick something that would make me happy that wasn’t just volleyball,” Brown said. “I felt that Oregon State was a good place for that.”

And after visiting the Oregon State campus in Corvallis once, Brown knew that was where she wanted to be.

“The social aspect was huge for me; the college campus feel was really big. Miami had the college campus feel, but not the college town kinda thing. Corvallis really has that,” she said.

Throughout the whole decision-making process, Brown’s family has been supportive of her. However, out of her seven siblings, the two that went to Oregon State themselves jokingly told her not to go. It was much more cool to tell friends that their younger sister played volleyball at “The U.”  The disappointment didn’t last.

“I feel like once I made my decision, they were behind me,” Brown said. I have seven siblings, so it’s a very opinionated family, but at the end of the day they are always supportive of me.”

At Oregon State, Brown is starting everything completely anew, even deciding to switch her major from Sports Administration to Business Law.

On the court Brown is focused on regaining her mental edge, something that she feels like has weakened. She wants to rekindle her love of volleyball that was lost this past fall.

Looking back at everything that has happened since her sophomore year at Westside, does Brown think she had made a college commitment too soon?

“Yes, one-hundred percent,” she said without pause. “I think that there is a lot of maturing that goes on between your sophomore and senior year. Some people are totally fine and know what they want and are very driven, but I was very persuaded by what other people thought. I don’t think I was mature enough to make a four-year decision for myself.”

Now Brown is back on the west coast in an environment that is much more familiar than the palm trees on South Beach. Now closer to friends and family she is much more comfortable. And with three years of college left, she just wants to have a good time and enjoy college life on and off the court.

“I feel like this time around I’m really making the decision for myself,” Brown said. “So even if it doesn’t go the way that I planned, I’ll know that I one-hundred percent made this decision for myself.”