Margaux Arnston
Annie Wright / Claremont McKenna College 
Margaux Arnston is making a big impression for a young woman who attended small schools.

The daughter of Anne and Eric Arnston of Puyallup attended Annie Wright School (enrollment in preschool through 12th grade, 517), became a volleyball star and earned a place on the 2013 Puget Sound Region all-region team to top off a high school career that included three citations as an Emerald City League all-league player.

A feared middle hitter for the Gators, Arnston credits trips with her parents to Oregon for top-flight competition for helping her hone her volleyball skills. She also participated in the Puget Sound Volleyball Academy and played Puget Sound region club volleyball from 2012-14. Her development was so thorough that she matriculated to Claremont McKenna College (enrollment: 1,300) in Southern California. The school, part of a consortium of seven liberal arts colleges in Claremont, about 35 miles east of Los Angeles, is highly selective of its students. Her arrival marked the start of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas’ march to the 2017 NCAA Division III volleyball championship, the school’s first women’s national title.

Her warmest memory in the wake of an avalanche of awards that followed the 2017 triumph was that her mom was able to travel to Michigan for the Division III finals to see her daughter compete.

The Athenas swept through the national finals by completing a 3-0 victory over the Wittenberg Tigers, 25-18, 25-19, 25-22. CMS finished with a 31-5 record, the most single-season victories in school history for the Athenas.

“It’s a special day,” coach Kurt Vlasich told Claremont-Mudd-Scripps sports information director Matthew Fenton after the title match. “It seems like every week we are saying for the first time ever. … It’s an incredible feeling to do it with this senior class that have all been pillars of our success.”

Arnston was named Most Valuable Player of the championship tournament with 18 kills and a .519 hitting percentage, a performance that earned her a place in Sports Illustrated magazine’s “Faces in the Crowd” in October 2017.

“The biggest thing for me was just saying to myself, ‘I belong here,’ and having that confidence,” Arnston told Fenton. “To make it to this level, at some point you have to forget your level of volleyball and just have the confidence. …The biggest thing was to stay confident.”

The national title topped off a college career that saw Arnston help the Athenas win the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) championship twice (2015, 2017), helped them reach the NCAA round of eight in 2014 (when she was SCIAC rookie of the year), make all-league second team twice and first team in 2017 when she was SCIAC Athlete of the Year. As a senior, she led her team with 358 kills and 392 points.

All the while, she remembered a quote from legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden: “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”

Arnston shared honors with teammates Mikena Werner, a second-team selection of the American Volleyball Coaches Association, and Clara Madsen, an honorable mention. The All-American teams were announced two days before the quarterfinals in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Arnston’s achievements earned her CMC’s Female Athlete of the Year award, and the prestigious William G. Dickinson Award at CMC, emblematic of the student who best embodies the qualities of leadership, self-discipline, determination and conscientiousness in campus life as well as in athletic competition.
Little more than a year after her team won its volleyball championship, Arnston is using her degree as a management trainee with the McMaster-Carr Supply Company, a diversified industrial supply firm based in Chicago with distribution centers across the U.S.