CMC is a ‘centering’ experience for Claire Donnelly ’17

Claire Donnelly ’17 stands head and shoulders above most of the rest of her class at CMC – literally.

At 6 feet tall, Donnelly has played center for the CMS Athenas women's basketball team since her freshman year at CMC. The Athenas have won the conference championship and played in the postseason three years in a row. Last year, Donnelly led the conference in blocked shots and the team in field-goal percentage. What’s more, she comes by that talent naturally.

“I grew up surrounded by basketball,” says Donnelly, who is a dual major in Economics and Organizational Studies (a Pitzer College major). “My mom and dad both played in college and international leagues.”

Donnelly, who has an older brother and sister, says her mother was her basketball coach until she reached the eighth grade and has been a consistent influence in all her success on the court. “My mom played professionally in Germany and my dad played in Mexico,” she says. “Mom was my junior high coach in Santa Rosa at my middle school, Willowside.”

A standout at Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa, Calif., where she played forward/center, Donnelly and her best friend and high school teammate, Chantal Evett, were recruited to play for the Athenas’ varsity as freshmen.

“Playing basketball at CMS has taught me the value of time management and prioritizing the important parts of my life,” Donnelly says. “I have to make time to focus on school and communicate with my family, so in some ways, being busier makes me more organized and allows me to value my free time more. All of my teammates and I work very hard to perform well in school and on the court, and we motivate each other to do so.”

Donnelly says that her athletic career at CMS has been an unqualified win-win for her. “My teammates and coaches provide me with an unwavering support system, and I feel lucky to call the other women on my team my best friends,” she says. “In terms of experiences, I have faced high-level teams in the NCAA tournament, and from this, have gotten the opportunity to travel to places in the United States I’d never been to before [Texas, Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Seattle, and elsewhere]. This has truly been an unforgettable experience.”

When she wasn’t performing practice drills or shooting and rebounding for the Athenas, Donnelly interned summers at her hometown radio station, KRSH 95.9 (“The Krush”), in Santa Rosa. She also got involved in CMC’s Alternatives Anonymous, a club that books bands to play at the College, thus providing students with experience in marketing, talent management, and event planning.

As Donnelly rounds out her final year at CMC, she says her main goal concerning the Athenas is to finish strong and hopefully make it to the NCAA tournament with the team. Donnelly says that her goal after graduation is to work in San Francisco in the finance field. “I’d also like to travel,” she says, “as I have dual Irish citizenship. I’d like to visit there and perhaps other parts of Europe.”

In addition, Donnelly hasn’t ruled out playing basketball in Ireland. “It’s something I would consider,” she says, “but I haven’t looked into it in depth — yet! I think playing abroad would be a fun experience, but I’m also considering just working if I spent an extended amount of time there.”

Sounds like a slam-dunk to us!

For more information on how you can support CMCers like Claire Donnelly, please visit the Annual Giving site.