A down-to-earth country girl, who struggled as a young kid, not only with her confidence, but with her athletic abilities, has put herself in a position to play college basketball for the Pacific University Boxers. Averaging 12 points and 4 rebounds, she was selected to the second team Mid-Willamette Conference her junior and senior years. She was also voted Most Valuable Player of her basketball team.
Meagan Ratliff was born in Silverton, Oregon, and raised on a farm riding horses and listening to country music. She’s the daughter of Jerry and Tonya. She has a younger sister, Mackenzie, and a younger brother, Austin.
“When I was little I wasn’t very good at basketball – I actually didn’t like it. All my friends started playing the game and I just followed along – I guess I just went with the flow. I didn’t have confidence and was unsure of my abilities,” Meagan said.
Confidence has always been an obstacle for Meagan. As a little girl she attended grade school and middle school at Mt. Angel, Oregon, a very small town not far from her home. She was on the quiet side among her peers. Playing basketball in her early years for the Boys and Girls Club and YMCA leagues, she found herself being left behind – all her friends kept improving.
“I’ve always been the type of person that was very competitive at everything I did. I wanted to be good at whatever I did. In basketball, everyone was getting better and I wasn’t improving,” Meagan said.
Her dad started coaching her and her mom was a strong supporter watching from the bleachers. Her younger sister and little brother started playing basketball as well. While Meagan was struggling on the basketball court during her fourth-grade year, her dad, Jerry, was diagnosed with kidney failure. Things only got worse for Meagan and her family.
This young lady is a believer in Jesus Christ – I have no doubt that her faith guided her through this. Her dad received an amazing gift from his Aunt Sandy. She donated one of her kidneys. Jerry recovered from this and is doing well.
“After that experience, our whole family made a decision to find something that we could do together to bond more. We became closer and decided that since we all enjoyed basketball, why not make that activity something we can all do together? So we became a basketball family,” Meagan smiles.
As the years went by, Meagan was improving slowly and she started liking basketball more – but still lacked in several skill sets. She played for the Future Foxes, who competed against local teams. She was playing with a group of girls that played together for years. She says that living in a small town you benefit by playing with the same group – you just know each other well.
Her dad wanted to help his daughter improve her skills. He started looking for a basketball trainer. It was during Meagan’s seventh grade year that her dad discovered a basketball trainer, Coach Matt Espinoza … www.dynamicpd.net … Every Sunday Matt would work with Meagan – her ball handling skills, shooting form, positioning, and footing. Her “confidence” improved drastically and so did the rest of her skills. To this day she continues to work with Matt (Coach Noza). Her work ethic is very strong and she always gives 100% at every drill.
“Meagan has improved tremendously in the six years I’ve known her. What’s remarkable about her is that she is not only driven on the basketball court, but also in every aspect of her life. There’s no doubt in my mind that she will go on to have a great career at Pacific,” Coach Noza said.
Meagan entered Silverton High School and became a member of the Lady Foxes. Her high school basketball career was a great experience. During her early years the team would lose many games. Her last two years of high school she helped turn that around – they started winning more games. By her senior year they made it to the second round of the state playoffs – an amazing improvement by the entire team.
Her junior year she attended the Pro-Classic Willamette Basketball Camp in Salem, Oregon, and the NBC Camps in LaGrande, Oregon. She was recruited to play with the Oregon Elite – a traveling tournament team that competes all over the nation from April through July every year.
“Oregon Elite was such a great experience for me. I made new friends that liked basketball just like I did. My independence grew a ton – I had the opportunity to see other cities in the U.S.A. It was fun fitting in with a group of talented girls. We still keep in touch,” Meagan said.
Meagan is a 5’9” senior wing who wore #33 during the basketball season. She had great teammates like, Alia Parsons and Lilly Paradise, who were major contributors in leading the Silverton Lady Foxes to the second round of the state playoffs this past season.
Not only has Meagan found success on the basketball court, but her academic world has bloomed to a GPA of 3.98 – including being selected the Salutatorian of her senior class. Taking four AP Classes her senior year clinches her total package earned.
One day she received an email from Pacific University which resides in Forrest Grove, Oregon. The coaches were interested in her and asked if she would like to visit the college. All that Meagan had gone through, not only with her dad’s medical situation, but her sweat and perseverance for years had paid off – a joyful moment couldn’t have come at a better time for her.
“When I visited the college the first time, I met the coaches and fell in love with their program. We kept in contact and eventually I drove up a second time for another visit. I informed them that I’d like to play there. They took me into the gym where I met one of my teammates. It was an incredible day!” Meagan said with a big smile.
Basketball has helped Meagan in so many areas of her life. It has helped her focus better on her family. She supports her siblings as they support her. The sport has helped her develop a stronger work ethic and the process of how to reach a goal. She learned how to manage her time and prioritize – and how to lose a game and be a good sport. It’s not easy she says, but well worth the effort in the end.
“Basketball is about having fun, and that’s what I’m doing. I love the sport and it gives me a chance to fit in with a dynamic group of girls. I know some of the girls already – I’m excited to attend Pacific next fall,” Meagan said.
One thing that people might not know about Meagan is that she has done nice things for people. She was with a group of friends in a restaurant in Silverton. They paid for a family’s meal. Then all of a sudden, the person behind them paid for theirs, and then the next person paid that person’s meal. It continued the entire day! Wow!
The love that her mom and dad have given her has been passed on. I’m sure that she is so proud of her parents, all the support they gave her – being there for her and her siblings. I commend parents like that – they put their kids first and look out for what’s best. Well done Ratliff family, keep up the good work.
Meagan’s positive attitude points at success. I wish her the best at the next level.
Meagan, what are your favorite subjects in school?
I like Anatomy, Biology, and Chemistry.
What are your favorite hobbies?
I enjoy baking, the beach, hiking, shopping, movies, and listening to country music.
Favorite NBA team, college team?
I love the Blazers and UConn.
What advice can you give to a young athlete?
Be confident in yourself and work hard. Always remember to have fun with it.
What’s your favorite Bible verse?
Romans 8:1. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.