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Feb. 22, 2017
The two-time defending national champion USC beach volleyball team welcomes five newcomers to Troy for the 2017 season. Before they begin their title defense on Saturday, March 4th in Malibu, get to know the second of our four freshmen in this Q&A.
Name: Avery Hazelrigg
Hometown: Manhattan Beach, Calif.
High School: Mira Costa HS
Major: Real Estate Development
Head Coach Anna Collier on Avery:
"Avery is a tenacious defender who comes from the grand tradition of Mira Costa HS volleyball. Early in her career, she decided to make the switch from indoor volleyball to focus on beach only, eventually becoming one of the hardest-working defenders in the junior beach game."
Q: What was your first experience with the sport of beach volleyball like?
AH: I didn't really play any sports seriously as a child, other than tetherball at recess. I also did ballet for four years, but I only started playing beach volleyball when I was in the fifth grade. (Former USC indoor All-American) Alex Jupiter's mom actually saw me peppering with my little sister at Hermosa Beach one day, and she came up to me and asked if I wanted to take some private lessons with her. I, of course, said yes and that's when I started falling in love with the sport.
Q: What factors played into your decision to pursue beach volleyball?
AH: I played indoor volleyball for two years in high school, and even though I was pretty short for an outside hitter, I didn't want to play any other position because I loved hitting. But as I got older and everyone else grew taller, I knew that colleges wouldn't really be looking for a 5-7 outside, so when I heard there was going to be a beach club team where I lived called Elite Beach Volleyball, I decided to do that instead of indoor club. After that, I made the decision to become a beach-only player because I liked it better and it gave me an opportunity to possibly play in college.
Q: How did USC come about during your college selection process?
AH: Well, first of all, everyone in the South Bay loves USC. My dad's brother went here and would always talk up the school, and I went to high school with (current Trojan sophomore) Katrina Kernochan too, so I looked into it and really liked all that it had to offer. Then I did a beach camp here and thought, "Wow, this is really cool. I want to play here." So then I sent Anna some of my highlight videos, asked her to come watch me play, and eventually I got the chance to come on a visit.
Q: Describe what that experience was like when you finally committed to USC.
AH: Oh it was the coolest thing ever. On my visit, I got to go to one of the football games and my whole family was invited. Then when we were down on the field, Anna came up behind me and asked, "So...do you want to be a Trojan?" And I immediately said yes! It was really cool because I didn't know if they had wanted me that badly, but I was the first girl to commit in my class. After that, I got to watch the rest of the game knowing that I was coming here and I was so happy. That was such an amazing moment for me.
Q: So now that you're here, what can you say about your decision to stay close to home and become a USC student-athlete?
It's funny because in my freshman and sophomore years of high school, I was so set on going to the East Coast for college. But as I grew older, I realized just how much I love it here. It's only a 25-minute drive back home to Manhattan Beach and I get to go see my animals and stay with family whenever I want to, so it's great. And overall, I'm so happy that I'm here at USC. I think it's the best school ever, and it's nice knowing that I'm actually here because I know a lot of people would love to be in this position, so I cherish that a lot. I've also learned that it is possible to balance school and sports and still be successful in both, so I'm just really excited and thankful for the opportunity.
DIGGING DEEP w/ Avery:
Favorite Food: Mac and Cheese
Go-To Snack: Cereal
Ice Cream Flavor: Mint chocolate chip
Pizza Topping: Extra cheese!
TV/Netflix Show: Stranger Things and Summer Heights High
Pro Sports Team: The Seattle Seahawks
Musical Artist: Sublime
Celebrity Crush: Liam Hemsworth
Celebrity Look-alike: I get Hayden Panettiere a lot.
Facebook or Twitter: Facebook
Instagram or Snapchat: Instagram
What's more essential: sunscreen, sunglasses, or a visor? Sunglasses
What's better: a game-winning ace, kill, or block? Game-winning kill
What's worse: a bad sunglasses tan or a bad spandex tan? A bad sunglasses tan!
Dream Beach Partnership: That's a good question...I'll say Eric Fonoimoana, my old coach.
If I could play another sport at USC, it would be: Tennis. I think I'm pretty good at it.
Favorite Thing about USC: The school spirit
Favorite Spot on Campus: The Women of Troy lounge in Heritage Hall—there are meditation beds and blankets there. It's really nice.
Dream Job/Career: To own my own hotel in the future.
Catch Avery and the rest of the Women of Troy in action when they host their annual Cardinal and Gold Alumni Match at Merle Norman Stadium on Thursday, March 2nd at 6 p.m. For more information on the USC beach volleyball team and a complete 2017 schedule, please visit USCTrojans.com and follow @USCBeach on Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, Instagram, and Snapchat.