As March turns to April, most collegiate volleyball players are spending their spring in the gym and on the practice court, preparing for the start of the season in the fall. But 2016 Waubonsie Valley graduate Brooke Burling is currently in the middle of her volleyball season, digging her toes into the sand courts under the sun at the University of Arizona.
During her high school career with the Warriors, Burling obviously played for Waubonsie’s team on the indoor court in the fall, but spent her summers playing AAU Beach Volleyball. She was able to have success no matter what court she played on, being named All Conference, All City and All district as a senior for WV in 2015. But she truly thrived in beach volleyball, winning the AAU national championship and earning All American status in 2014.
Although indoor volleyball has 6 players on the court at a time and beach volleyball has only two, there are skill sets that translate through both variations of the sport.
Brooke and close friend Caroline Cordes were co-captains at Waubonsie and both drew the attention of the Arizona beach volleyball team. The duo is now in their third season with the Wildcats, Burling a junior and Cordes a redshirt sophomore.
Pairing mostly with teammate Johnny Baham, Burling has done nothing but rack up victories for her team, especially over the past two seasons. Burling and Baham went 17-6 last year and are off to a team best 8-2 start this year, mainly alternating between the #2 and #3 pairing for the Wildcats. Cordes had her greatest success last season out of the #5 spot with a record of 12-6.
Despite the fact that some might not even consider beach volleyball as an available path for high school volleyball players, Brooke Burling took the less travelled path and is now able to play a sport she loves alongside one of her best friends in a unique environment. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that whether it’s game day or a practice, it’s literally a day at the beach. For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Justin Cornwell.
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