A League of Our Own: Katie Mei Williams

Name: Katie Mei Williams
School: Miami University
Major: Chemistry (Neuroscience Co-major + Statistics minor) Leadership Role: Treasurer, Captain

What sports/clubs were you involved in throughout high school?

I primarily played soccer growing up, however in high school my focus switched to tennis because I liked the team better. My mom taught me tennis growing up, so I played on the varsity team for all four years and tennis became my main sport.

How did you first get involved with the club?

I did my first year of college online, so when I came to campus, there was a program for second-year students who were coming to campus for the first time. One of the activities I participated in during the program was a dodgeball game, which sort of reminded me of how fun it was. Then it was only a few days later at MegaFair when Anna was flagging people down quite enthusiastically. Because I had had a good experience with dodgeball recently, I was very easily convinced to play again. I ended up making some great friends on the team and it just stuck!

Katie Mei at the 2024 Beaumont Blast at Michigan State University.

How was your first tournament?

I’ve seen film from our first tournament at Akron, and watching it back again is absolutely hilarious. We were so underprepared and had no idea how to play. We were just lobbing the balls across the gym and shuffling around awkwardly. If I remember correctly, we also only had 11 people. Regardless, I had a really good time playing with my team and I had a couple of solid catches (although my technique has improved drastically since then).

Your most memorable tournament moment?

The moment I most vividly remember from a tournament was at my first Nationals at Western Michigan. It’s more of a lowlight because we were playing Grand Valley and I got absolutely wrecked on a team throw. I remember bobbling the first ball and trying to catch it, but then the second one came like a rocket and smacked me in the face. It felt like the entire gym went silent and the sound was just ringing forever. I definitely needed a moment after that one.

Who are your role models?

My dodgeball role models are my dodgeball big sisters, Anna and Elly. They are the ones who showed me what I could bring to the table and how to develop my skills as a woman in the sport. I knew that I wanted to work on catching because I feel like I never developed a good throwing form due to my lack of participation in throwing sports growing up. So they helped me learn how to put my body behind the catch rather than trying to catch it like a football. Having strong women on the team (and in leadership roles) was definitely a contributing factor as to why I felt welcome on the team and ultimately stayed.

What are you looking forward to this semester?

For pinch, I am super excited to see all of our rookies develop this semester. We saw a lot of progress last semester and it always makes my heart warm to see people get the dodgeball “bug”. Our rookies have all been making huge plays, despite just learning the sport. I’m also looking forward to being with our team at nationals (as it will be the first for many)! As for no-sting, I am most excited for women’s nationals which will be at Miami! My goal for my senior year was to host a women’s tournament and now we get to have everyone here in the spring.

Katie Mei celebrating with her team at the 2024 Akron Women’s Tournament.

Experience of being a woman in dodgeball?

I won’t lie, I do get frustrated being a woman in dodgeball because I feel a weird need to prove myself beyond just playing as a woman. As a team captain, I take this pretty hard because I want people to take me seriously. During tournaments, I also tend to sit myself to give teammates some well-deserved playtime. However, it does suck when no one advocates for you to stay in the way that they do for my fellow male captains – regardless of how we’re playing. However, it has been great to see female representation grow in the league – especially in leadership positions. I’ve been enjoying the no-sting tournaments because I have gotten the opportunity to connect with more women from other teams. In the future, I would like to continue to see women making decisions for the women, and for the league to better understand and see value in our contributions.

Who is a team you would like to play at Nationals?

I would love a rematch with Saginaw because the last time we played them, we got pretty embarrassed. I think that they are a good team that challenges me to use some of my lesser skills (like throwing). I feel like I always learn a lot when we play them.

If you could describe your play style as any animal, what animal would it be?

This may be a goofy answer, but I would say a hyena. For one, sometimes when I am playing sports and get too into it, I start laughing and can’t stop (Connor can attest). This has happened one too many times at practice. On a more serious note, although hyenas are smaller, they can still be strong and capable. However, they are strengthened by others around them which I feel is fitting.

What would be your walk-up song?

I don’t know, probably Juice by Lizzo

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