March 1, 2013
by Ryan Smith, MSU Athletic Communications Student Assistant
As a kid, athletes across the country dream of one day playing for their favorite team in college. For senior guard Tracy Nogle, that dream came true when she walked onto the Michigan State women's basketball team her freshman year.
Growing up in Okemos, Nogle attended Michigan State camps and games, looking up to the girls on the team in hopes of one day being a Spartan. Now she is graduating after four years as a member of the Michigan State women's basketball program.
"It's been a dream come true to wear the Michigan State jersey," said Nogle. "Having that goal and dream as a young child and now living it means a lot to me. I know a lot of girls at a young age playing basketball have their idols that they look up to playing on different teams and sometimes it's a team from your area, so I have watched the girls that played here at Michigan State. To have them come back now that I am playing and to see them as alumni, it means a lot to think that I idolized them before and now I am one of them."
Fortunately, the dream doesn't end here for Nogle. In June, she will attend Michigan State's College of Osteopathic Medicine, where she will pursue her goal to become a pediatrician. A big inspiration in her life has been her family. Her mother, Sally Nogle is in her 29th year of work at Michigan State as an athletic trainer and has been big influence on her.
"What I am going in to has a lot to do with her," said Nogle. "Growing up and always being around medicine, I have always been interested in the body. I didn't always want to be a doctor; my first dream was to be a teacher since my dad and aunt were in teaching. I thought I was going to be an elementary teacher, but as I got into schooling, I really enjoyed the sciences and anatomy. Seeing what my mom was doing every day was really inspiring so I wanted to do that.
"It is really nice having my mom just up the street at the football building. With her profession being an athletic trainer and her knowledge of the body, when I get stuck with my classes, it's always good to be able to go to her since she is such a brilliant lady."
In high school, she excelled as a three-sport athlete, earning varsity letters in volleyball, basketball, and soccer. A three- year letter winner in basketball, Nogle was the team captain and MVP in her junior and senior seasons to go along with being named all-state honorable mention her final two seasons.
On top of her athletic achievements, Nogle graduated high school with high honors in the classroom, earning Academic All-State honors as well as being a three-time recipient of Capital Area Activities Conference all-academic recognition. The balancing act between schoolwork and basketball is not easy, but is nothing new for Nogle who has been doing it her entire life.
"I don't think I ever had to think about choosing one over the other," said Nogle. "It was always which to do first. If I had to finish my homework before practice, then that is what I had to do. Being on a time schedule made me get my stuff done. Playing sports throughout high school, you know that you have to get your work done before practice because you're going to be tired after. Doing both has never been a problem. Basketball has always given me an escape from studies."
Her academic achievements continued once she was in college. Despite the heavy workload and long hours devoted to basketball, she has earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in both her sophomore and junior seasons.
"It has definitely been challenging and there have been times where I have been stressed out but I think it is something if you put your mind to it, you can do it," said Nogle. "I just have to prioritize school and practice before other things. It's been hard but I have had the support of family close by, the coaching staff and my teammates as well supporting me through the whole thing."
Nogle took advantage of opportunities presented to her outside of the classroom. In addition to a resume filled with good grades and being a Division I athlete, she has been getting first-hand experience working with and shadowing doctors and physicians on the medical staff at MSU.
"I think that in the end, basketball has actually gotten me to where I am today," said Nogle. "With the resources I have gained from being on the team and the fact that being involved with a group of people who are doing something that requires a lot of time and discipline, medical schools take that into consideration when accepting applicants."
Nogle sites the people that she has surrounded herself with as a big contributor to allowing her to excel in multiple high stress areas.
"Support from my teammates has been unbelievable," said Nogle. "I can't even begin to explain it. Getting that feeling of accomplishment, even if it didn't go well, knowing that people care is huge. Seeing everyone and the support that I have had this whole time, going back to people that were here my freshman year that took me under their wing, I would not have been able to do it without my teammates and coaches."
And while Nogle has been positively impacted by those closest to her, head coach Suzy Merchant recognizes what Nogle has done for others.
"I think that Tracy has been such a valuable part of our program," said Merchant. "Her value doesn't show up on a stat sheet, but it means a lot to our team. She is fun, outgoing and engaging. She is very focused on the game plan and helping coach her teammates and she brings a lot of energy. I don't think there is a better ambassador to Michigan State and I don't know if there is a better MSU women's basketball ambassador than Tracy Nogle."
Nogle will continue to be a positive representative for Michigan State off the court when she attends medical school and pursues her career to be a pediatrician.