LIVINGSTON, NJ — Gayle Edelstein, a 2017 graduate of Livingston High School, will be participating in the upcoming 2019 Mexico City Pan Am Maccabi Games as a member of the U.S. women's volleyball team.
A psychology major who just completed her sophomore year at McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., Edelstein will be making her second appearance for the Maccabi USA Team. She helped Team USA win a Gold Medal in the 2017 Maccabiah Games that were held in Israel. That year, the USA Junior National Volleyball Team defeated national junior teams from Cuba, Canada, Argentina and Israel for the Junior Division Championship.
"I have been been playing volleyball since seventh grade," said Edelstein. "My older sister, Allison, who was four years ahead of me, was a volleyball player, so I have been around the game since I was in first grade. It has kind of been family sport."
Like her sister, Gayle is a setter who holds the Livingston High School record for career assists in the sport. While at Livingston High, Edelstein was a four-year starter who played on Essex County championship and conference title teams. She has been a starter in each of her first two seasons at McDaniel.
Having already experienced international travel and competition in Israel a couple of years ago, Edelstein is eager and unfazed at the prospect of 10 days in Mexico City.
"I have the same coach who coached me in Israel, and I was in the Dominican Republic last winter for a January term trip for school," she said. "I spent that time going to schools and teaching kids there. So I am not nervous at all about making this trip.
"On Team USA, I played with two other members of this team in Israel two years ago, so it will be more comfortable for me being with them. There are only seven of us; it's a small team."
Edelstein, who is in the Honors Program at McDaniel, has previously played for the Atlantic Valley Volleyball Club. Her 2017 experience in Israel prepared her well for what is to come in Mexico, and Edelstein is looking forward to the challenge.
"The experience of playing in Israel was awesome," she said. "It was my first international playing experience. It was like the Olympics, only a downsized version. It was a lot of fun. It was super cool. We got a week and a half to travel and sightsee before the games actually started."
Prior to leaving for Mexico on Friday, Edelstein spent her time home from college working as a nanny while also "working on a strength and conditioning program, working out in the gym and playing some grass volleyball."
Team USA's first match will be held on Monday, July 8 against Cuba. Edelstein will return home on July 16 to take an internship at Bergen Newbridge Mental Center in Paramus before returning to McDaniel for her junior year in the fall.