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Feature Friday: Claire (Smalzer) Wolfe

Happy Fridayyyy and welcome back to the blog! This week is all about Claire Wolfe, former studlet volleyball player at Duke University! During her time at Duke, Claire was a 4-year All-Academic ACC selection, earned the Ronald McDonald student-athlete of the week, and still holds her place in Duke volleyball history, ranking 3rd in all-time career digs. Claire was also a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Peer Advisory Network, and graduated on the Dean's List with Distinction. After graduating from Duke with a degree in Biological Anthropology and Anatomy, Claire went on to earn a Master's in Sports Management from Western Illinois University where she maintained an impressive 4.0 GPA. Here's what she has to say about her college athletic experience!


Claire and her husband Tommy on a recent trip to her Alma Mater

GamePlan: If you could sum up your college athletic experience in one word, what would it be? Claire: Privilege.


GamePlan: What is a lesson you learned while playing college athletics?

Claire: Discipline (early mornings, regimented schedule, multiple commitments, the importance of showing up).


GamePlan: What is one of the hardest moments you had to get through while playing college sports, and how did you get through it?

Claire: Being so far away from home was difficult. But you start relying on teammates and they become your best friends. And most are going through the same thing being away from home whether near or far.


GamePlan: What is one of the hardest moments you had to get through while going through the recruiting process?

Claire: Committing later than most of my club teammates.


GamePlan: What is your favorite memory from playing college sports?

Claire: Playing in the Elite 8 v. Penn state.


GamePlan: What advice do you have for student-athletes who are trying to play at the collegiate level?

Claire: Look at the school as a whole, there is life after sports. A strong academic choice is just as important to set yourself up for your non-playing career.

GamePlan: 👏

Claire showing us why she ranks so high in the Duke record books! Her preferred form of volleyball these days is the beach. Photo credit: AVP

GamePlan: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything? If so, what would you do differently?

Claire: Focused more on personal health. College sports are really physically demanding. There are definitely mental and emotional components to it as well. Sleep, nutrition and taking time to focus on yourself as a person are very important.

GamePlan: Amen to that!


GamePlan: What are you up to now?

Claire: Still playing volleyball but ventured to the sand. Married over 1 year ago, new house and 7 chickens! Going on 3 years working for Dell. Lots of travel- recently went back to Duke and took the husband along. Planning to go watch the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo!


GamePlan: What role did athletics play in helping you get to where you are now?

Claire: I couldn’t have asked for a better university to have on my resume. Everyone knows Duke and when people find out I was a student-athlete, it’s a great conversation starter and networking play. I love being able to chat college sports especially on the job as I sell into colleges and universities on the East Coast, a handful of which are ACC schools.


Thank you Claire! For you faithful readers out there, you may be noticing a pattern from our successful featured athletes...be sure to choose a school that is right for you and think about the importance of academics! Take it from those (like Claire) who have been there and done that - your education matters for your future. Tune in next time for another #featurefriday!

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