SANTA MONICA, Calif. — CSU Bakersfield assistant indoor and sand volleyball coach Tori Grafeman and junior setter Lisa Bartsch (Wuppertal, Germany, Augusta St.) spent the weekend gearing up for CSUB's inaugural sand volleyball season by volunteering at a clinic run by three-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings.
On Sunday, Grafeman, a former professional beach volleyball player, and Bartsch, who like the rest of her teammates will be playing on CSUB's indoor and sand teams, helped run the clinic which hosted over 100 girls and boys from San Diego to Utah. Proceeds from the event benefited Walsh Jennings' Chase the Stars Foundation, which helps improve the well-being, health and quality of children's lives while encouraging them to follow their dreams, and the Good Tidings Foundation, which supports athletic programs for youth, families and communities in need.
"It was pretty inspiring to see how many kids are focusing on sand volleyball specifically," Grafeman said. "When I was younger, sand volleyball wasn't available for this age bracket and you could only play after college in the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals, which hosts a women's pro beach volleyball tour). The emerging popularity of this sport just confirms why CSUB added sand volleyball as a varsity sport and we are looking forward to our inaugural season."
Grafeman and Bartsch served as coaches for the clinic, assisting with various stations like hitting and serving, while Walsh Jennings ran one station where she talked to young aspiring sand volleyball stars about her life.
With their Olympic dominance over the last decade, Walsh Jennings and her U.S. Olympic teammate Misty May-Treanor have helped fuel the increasing popularity of sand volleyball. The up-and-coming sport was recently sanctioned by the NCAA with its first National Championship being held in April of 2012. In August of 2012, CSUB joined 15 other NCAA institutions, predominately on the West Coast, in offering sand volleyball.
The Roadrunners' have already begun practicing for their inaugural season, which see its first competitions in March.