RALEIGH, N.C. - Junior Andie Stuber, Meredith's first goal keeper for the inaugural women's lacrosse season set to begin next month, enjoyed "an amazing and life-changing" opportunity during the academic winter break in December. Stuber, along with brother Alex and father Chuck, hiked Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak on the African continent and the world's tallest free-standing mountain.
The six-day ascent to the summit began with an approximately six-hour hike through the rain forest to Machame Camp. The next morning, the trio traveled four hours on foot to Shira Camp and enjoyed an incredible sunset view.
Christmas morning, with a view of the peak in sight, Stuber and her partners reached Lava Tower at 15,000 feet to acclimate to the stiffening air before descending 2000 feet to Barranco Camp for the night. The three were treated to a white Christmas as they neared the day's peak.
Each of the next two days included a three-hour "recovery" hike to reach Barafu Camp in preparation of summit day.
After reaching Barafu, the team rested up for a midnight start towards the summit at Uhuru Point. A full moon and starlit sky offered a spectacular background for the final climb. Six and one half hours later, Stuber, her brother and father reached Stella Point and the ridgeline of Kibo Peak.
"It was amazing to see the moon setting over the old volcanic crater on one side of the mountain and to see the sun rising over Mawenzi Peak on the opposite side. The views that we were granted while making the final push to Uhuru Peak were phenomenal," said Stuber.
A short, 30-minute hike later and the team arrived at Uhuru Peak, reaching more than 19,000 feet. Stuber photographed proof of this magnificant accomplishment next to a sign officially marking the highest point in Africa.
The group descended all but four hours that same day and completed the roundtrip the next morning in just four hours on the final hike down to the base of Kilimanjaro.
Now back on campus for the spring semester, Stuber and her teammates prepare for their season. With two years of lacrosse experience at Enloe High School, Stuber is excited about the unexpected opportunity to compete once again.
The first season for Meredith will be a challenge as several members of the squad are new to the sport. Head Coach Lauren Scott and her assistant Kate McKinley, along with the handful of veteran players worked diligently with the rookies to prep the team for a successful season.
"It has been a great experience for everyone teaching them the game of lacrosse and learning to work together as a team, but we will be facing some teams who have more experienced players," said Stuber. "This team will set the standard for future Meredith lacrosse teams. We are also another way to positively represent Meredith, and we are able to give current and future Meredith students a way to pursue athletics and play lacrosse in college."
PHOTO GALLERY (courtesy Andie Stuber)