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NCAA Beach Championship is packed with Team USA ties

 
Leading Southern California to the American collegiate title were seniors (left to right) Sophie Bukovec, Nicolette Martin, Allie Wheeler, Sara Hughes and Kelly Claes.
Gulf Shores, Ala., USA, May 7, 2017 - The NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship was riddled with schools and athletes touting extensive experience on the sand. Many of the athletes have represented Team USA at age-group world championships and have played on professional circuits. The two Championship final teams boasted 17 from the USAV pipeline.

At this year's NCAA Championship, eight schools in attendance featured 38 student-athletes that have competed in professional beach volleyball events, and 14 that have worn their country's flag at FIVB Age Group World Championships. 2017 NCAA Champions Southern California has nine student-athletes in the USAV pipeline and runner-up Pepperdine has eight.

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In the USA Volleyball High Performance pipeline, there is an impressive contingent of 37 here at the Championship, 51-percent of the field. Eight coaches are also a part of the USAV high performance network, including: Anna Collier (USC), the USAV Beach HP Master Coach; Ali Wood Lamberson (USC), Stein Metzger (UCLA), Jenny Johnson Jordan (UCLA), Marcio Sicoli (Pepperdine), Jeff Alzina (LBSU), Evan Silberstein (Hawaii), and Brooke Niles (FSU).

Florida State | 8 of 10 have played on professional tours; 4 will play in Team USA Summer Champions Series
Eva Torruella (Team Puerto Rico): 2015 Pan American Games
Vanessa Freire, Katie Horton, Brooke Kuhlman, Victoria Paranagua, Macy Jerger and Francesca Goncalves have competed in USAV Beach HP domestic programs

Hawai'i | 3 of 10 have played on professional tours
Mikayla Tucker: 2011 FIVB U19 World Championships
Morgan Martin: 2014 FIVB U17 World Championships
Amy Ozee has competed in USAV Beach HP domestic programs, Nikki Taylor will train with the indoor HP programs

Long Beach State | 3 of 10 have played on professional tours; 4 will play in Team USA Summer Champions Series
Anete Brinke (Team Latvia): 2014 FIVB U21 World Championships, 2013 U19 World Championships
Hailey Harward has competed in USAV Beach HP domestic programs

Louisiana State | 2 of 10 have played on professional tours; 4 will play in Team USA Summer Champions Series
Claire Coppola has competed in USAV Beach HP domestic programs

Pepperdine | 5 of 10 have played on professional tours; 8 will play in Team USA Summer Champions Series
Delaney Knudsen: 2014 FIVB U21 World Championships, 2013 U19 World Championships
Skylar Caputo: 2014 Youth Olympic Games, 2013 FIVB U19 World Championships
Corinne Quiggle, Anika Wilson, Maddy Roh, Heidi Dyer, Deahna Kraft and Nikki Lyons have competed in USAV Beach HP domestic programs

South Carolina | 2 of 10 have played on professional tours; 4 will play in Team USA Summer Champions Series
Julia Mannisto and Katie Smith have competed in USAV Beach HP domestic programs

Southern California | 9 of 10 have played on professional tours; 8 will play in Team USA Summer Champions Series
Kelly Claes: 2014 FIVB U21 World Championships, 2013 U19 World Championships
Sara Hughes: 2014 FIVB U23 World Championships, 2014 U21 World Championships, 2013 U19 World Championships, 2012 U21 World Championships, 2012 U19 World Championships, 2011 U21 World Championships, 2011 U19 World Championships
Sophie Bukovec (Team Canada): 2014 FIVB U23 World Championships, 2014 U21 World Championships, 2013 U21 World Championships, 2013 U19 World Championships, 2012 U21 World Championships, 2012 U19 World Championships
Abril Bustamante: 2016 FIVB U21 World Championships
Joy Dennis: 2014 FIVB U17 World Championships
Terese Cannon, Jenna Belton, Allie Wheeler, Nicolette Martin and Jo Kremer have competed in USAV Beach HP domestic programs

UCLA | 6 of 10 have played on professional tours; 4 will play in Team USA Summer Champions Series
Nicole McNamara (Team Canada): 2016 FIVB U21 World Championships, 2014 FIVB U21 World Championships, 2014 U19 World Championships, 2014 Youth Olympic Games
Megan McNamara (Team Canada): 2016 FIVB U21 World Championships, 2014 FIVB U21 World Championships, 2014 U19 World Championships, 2014 Youth Olympic Games
Torrey Van Winden: Upcoming 2017 U21 FIVB World Championships, 2016 U21 World Championships
Simo Savvy: Upcoming 2017 U21 FIVB World Championships
Kamila Tan, Isabelle Carey, Lily Justine and Elise Zappia have competed in USAV Beach HP domestic programs

UAB Associate Athletics Director for Compliance Corey Bray explains that, "student-athletes can accept up to actual and necessary expenses," when playing in professional events. Those expenses include travel, lodging, food, coach and entry fees. Student-athletes can play in outside competition, from their schools, if they "work with compliance to provide receipts and know how much prize money they can accept to cover the actual and necessary expenses." Once a student-athlete accepts more that those approved expenses, is when they're designated a professional and lose amateur status.

The NCAA compliance rules apply 24/7 until the student-athlete exhausts eligibility. It's not uncommon for athletes to play in professional events, Bray said that compliance offices also see it in golf, tennis and baseball. What is unique is the amount of NCAA beach volleyball athletes that take advantage of the playing opportunities - 38 in total from this year's Championship field.

When competing in the Olympics or World Championships, the same rules or actual and necessary expenses apply and the event, regardless of time of year, does not count against their eligibility.


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