Top 20 Women (2016)
1. Traci Walsh5' 8" Traci has dominated the Utah beach scene for the past eight years and is one of the winningest outdoor players in Utah. She has shown success on the national level winning the Motherlode tournament with Angela Peterson in 2013 and the Steamboat Springs tournament in 2012. She and Helen Farr have taken 2nd and 3rd twice in Aspen, and qualified for a professional event on the beach in California. Traci has won tournaments at Wasatch Beach, Bear Lake, Park City, Cottonwood Complex, Ogden, and Sun Valley, among others. She has also been Queen of the Beach several times during the past few seasons. Traci and husband Mike have three children, Carter, Zoey, and Tessa, and currently live in Bountiful.
2. Angela Peterson6' 0" New Mexico State
Angela was a club and high school volleyball standout in Utah. She went to New Mexico State University where she led her team to the NCAA tournament and received several honors including 2002 Conference Player of the Year. Angela won the Motherlode tournament with Traci Walsh in 2013 and the Steamboat Springs tournament in 2012. She placed 1st or 2nd in every tournament in Utah in 2013. Angela is currently teaching Zumba while taking care of her 4 children while living in the Lindon area. She loves to dance and is an accomplished Ballerina.
3. Chelsea Bair
4. Nicole Barnes5' 7" Born and raised in Utah. Nicole manages a fire and water damage clean up company that her parents started 30 years ago. She has been married for 9 years and has a 6 year old boy, a 2 year old girl, and one on the way! She played at Snow College and UVSC. Nicole was introduced to outdoor volleyball by Linda Byington. "She called and asked me to play in a coed tournament with her boyfriend. We killed everyone in our division and I've been hooked ever since!"
5. Paige Neves
6. Linda Byington6' 1" University of Utah
Linda was an all-conference standout for the University of Utah and was the first Ute to join the 300 hitting club. She played professionally for the Utah Predators, helping her team win the league championship and leading the league in blocks per game. She was the assistant volleyball coach at the University of Utah for several years and has coached sand juniors players in national events. Although Linda has been playing sand volleyball in Utah longer than any other active player, she still finds herself among the top players in the state. Recent accomplishments include: Several 5th place EVP and Steamboat Springs Tournament finishes, 9th place at the Motherlode, and top 3 finish in most of the 2013 tournaments in Utah. Linda currently lives in Salt Lake City with her daughter Anaka. She is the Vice President of Integration for Electronic Funds Source LLC, a fuel card company in Ogden.
7. Karli Maughan
8. Sundi Brown5' 10" I started playing volleyball in high school (in Idaho Falls, ID.) After high school, I got married and moved to Utah to start my family and have lived here every since. A friend first convinced me to try outdoor doubles in 2004. I've been hooked ever since, and now I enjoy it more than indoor. I serve on the UOVA Board of Directors as the Secretary, and try to stay as involved as I can with the whole Utah volleyball scene.
9. Christina Pazzi
10. Dani Barton6' 0" Dani is a standout in both volleyball and basketball at Brighton High. She has achieved many accolades in both sports as a high school athlete in Utah. As a 6-foot sophomore, she could grab the rim, and she hopes to dunk before her high school career is over. The NCAA will recognize sand volleyball as a varsity sport for the first time next season, and the reigning AVCA sand volleyball champions, USC, had offered Barton a scholarship. Instead of going to the beach, she committed to the University of Utah indoor volleyball program. She will be the 5th member of her family to compete for the U. Her dad, Paul, played football and baseball. Her mom, Mikki, played basketball and volleyball. And her 2 older brothers, Jackson and Cody, are current football players at the University of Utah. Dani plays sand volleyball in Utah and in California during the summer months.
11. Tambre Nobles
12. Miranda Vanhorn
13. Egan Metcalf6' 2"
University of Washington
Egan is one of the biggest blocks in the women's game. She was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. After college she moved to Salt Lake City for her job at 3form, where she is a designer. Egan started playing outdoor 2 1/2 years ago and quickly became one of Utah's elite. "I never expected to be playing and enjoying volleyball this much after college let alone beach volleyball in utah! I looove it!"
14. Courtney Twiet
15. Cinthia Angus6' 0" University of Utah / SLCC
The San Paulo, Brazil native came to Utah to play for Salt Lake Community College, where she led the Bruins to a third-place finish at the national tournament as an NJCAA All-Tournament team selection and a second-team All-American. Cinthia was an outside hitter for the University of Utah during the 2008 and `09 seasons. She averaged 2.20 kills, 2.17 digs and 0.55 blocks per set over her career for the Utes. In 2008, Angus helped the Utes to the MWC crown and a Sweet 16 appearance after posting 1.99 kills and 2.25 digs per set. Cinthia was the volunteer assistant coach at Utah following her playing time. She then coached at Snow College for one year, and is currently the assistant coach for Barry University in Florida. Cinthia has both her undergraduate and masters degrees from the U. She is married to Danny Angus.
16. Valery Pryor5' 7" Val started playing indoor volleyball in high school and then at Pierce College in LA. She also played 5 years in CBVA and AVP qualifier events on the beaches of So Co. While playing at Pierce College Val lead her team to win two conference championships (2002 & 2003). In 2003 Val was also named MVP, 1st team All Conference and all tournament team.
17. Sarah Dalton
18. Torre Glasker5' 9" University of Utah
Torre just completed her Senior year of High School and is currently a member of the University of Utah Volleyball Team. In 2015, she led Bingham High to a 27-5 overall record, and posted a .331 hitting percentage. Her 409 kills ranked fifth most in the state of Utah, while her 4.3 kills-per-set average ranked ninth in the state.
19. Seyvion Waggoner
20. Ashley Murray
Previous top players
Angie AdamsAngie finished up in 2012 with a win in League Session 3 and has placed in the top 10 Women's Open season rankings for 3 consecutive years at Wasatch Beach. Angie grew up with a passion for dance and was a dancer until one day she looked around and realized she was a foot taller than all her fellow dancers. Angie's friend who loved volleyball introduced her to the indoor game her sophomore year of high school where she quickly excelled, becoming team MVP the next year and first team all conference her junior and senior years. Deciding to skip college volleyball and focus on a law degree Angie picked up on beach volleyball in 2004 and has been playing ever since. Angie is married to Casey Adams. They have two children and live in Alpine, Utah. Angie graduated at BYU for both her undergraduate and law degree in 2001 and has been practicing law both on and off the court ever since.
Carrie Bowers6' 2" BYU
Carrie led BYU to a 24-9 record in 2003. After spending her first four years as a middle blocker, she was moved to her high school position on the right side, and flourished. Bowers hit .300 on the season and was second on the team in kills in leading the way as co-captain. After college Carrie spent time competing on the beach in California. She and her son recently moved to Arizona.
Christie CarpenterChristie enjoyed a great indoor college career for BYU from 2007-2011 where she majored in exercise and wellness with a minor in business. Christie has only been playing outdoor volleyball for 2 years and like many former indoor players she has happily converted to the sand volleyball scene. Christie was born in San Diego California and currently lives in Provo. Christie has three brothers, one sister and enjoys running, reading, eating, movies, and anything to do with the outdoors.
Laura Downey-Wood5' 8" Laura played at Kansas State University from 1999 to 2003. She was named Libero of the year in 2002 & 2003 and was part of the Big 12 Championship team in 2003. Laura enjoys spending time with her family, her dog, the outdoors and laughing a lot.
Helen Farr6' 0"
Helen grew up in Spanish Fork, Utah. After playing volleyball for Spanish Fork High, she continued her career as an outside hitter for Brigham Young University. Helen helped her team to three consecutive elite 8 appearances, and graduated in 1999. Since then, Helen has received a received a master's degree, been married, and now enjoys staying home with her daughter. Helen continues to love the game of volleyball and rarely misses an opportunity to play.
Andrea HanselDenton, Texas
Andrea played 4 years as libero for the University of North Texas from 1999 to 2003 before moving to Utah. She received the first ever women's college volleyball scholarship from her hometown of Denton Texas. Andrea then started playing local outdoor grass doubles tournaments before hearing about WBV. Andrea quickly learned the finer points of the sand game and have made her way into the top 20 for the 2011 and 2012.
Kristy Howard5' 10"
University of Houston and SLCC
Kristy grew up in Salt Lake City. After graduating from Skyline High School she spent one year at the University of Houston, then returned to finish school at SLCC. Kristy and her team from SLCC took second place at Nationals. Kristy and husband, Eric Howard, have two children. In addition she has a full-time job. She doesn't get to play as often as she would like, but in her words "it is such an honor to be surrounded by all of the outstanding talent here in Utah."
Cheryl KingCheryl attended the University of Nebraska - Lincoln where she was an NCAA Division I All-American in track. Though the 400m was a thrilling challenge, she missed her other passion - volleyball. She started playing sand volleyball two years ago at a Queen of the Beach tournament and has been hooked ever since. (Thanks Linda!) Cheryl is married to Benjamin King and they are expecting a baby girl in October.
Camie ManwillUtah Valley University Senior (2009): Named to the Great West Conference First Team...Named Great West Conference Offensive Player of the Week three times. Lettered in volleyball, soccer, basketball, and track at Paradise HS...named All-League and All-Section in volleyball...named Section Best Defensive Specialist...named All-League and MVP in soccer, basketball, and track. Personal: Born September 22, 1987...graduated from Paradise High School in 2005 with a 4.34 GPA (ranked ninth in her class)...received the NCIF Scholastic and Athlete Award...honor roll student...named Academic All-State in volleyball, soccer, and track...majoring in Exercise Science...has three sisters whom she loves so much Ashley, Daydre, and Karly...daughter of Gary and Shauna Manwill.
Lindsey Metcalf6' 0"
Brigham Young University 2000-2004
Players Volleyball Club
Lindsey, a stay-at-home-mom, is married to Benson Metcalf. The Metcalf's have a three-year-old daughter and one-year-old son.
Nina Mortensen6' 3"
Nina was a 2-time All-American and conference player of the year who led her team to the sweet 16 while at BYU. She also led the Nation in blocks per game. In 2002, Nina played on the US National Team and was the A2 Captain. She played professionally in Finland in 2002-2003. Nina has a Masters Degree in Exercise Science; she was an assistant coach for UVSC (2003-2004) & BYU (2005-2006). In 2008 Nina and Brenda Whicker were the Salt Lake Gets Fit Champions.
Mandi NutallMandi Nuttall grew up between South Lake Tahoe and Sacramento, California in a little town called Cedar Grove. After moving to Utah in 2001 to play for UVSC for a year and a half, she transferred her sophomore year to finish her eligibility at BYU. With a degree in Health Education, she was a Health teacher at Orem High School and was the head coach at Pleasant Grove High School. She is now blissfully and happily married and works as a photographer as her husband finishes Dental School. As a mother of 3 wonderful but busy kids, she finds it essential to find time to continue playing both indoor and sand to help her stay grounded and a more sane mom!
McKenzie Odale5' 11" Mckenzie was a 3-year starting setter for Utah while leading her team into the PAC 12 conference. She amassed 1,453 assists and 392 digs during her career. She was voted the teams most inspirational player because of her strong leadership skills and work ethic. She also led her high school team to three Idaho State Championships. McKenzie got degrees in psychology and health and is currently living in Salt Lake City.
Morgan Odale6' 1" University of Utah
Morgan finished playing at the U of U this fall as just the third player in school history to join three of Utah's milestone clubs... third in school history with 1,322 career kills, fifth with 1,200 career digs, and sixth with 120 career aces. She had also had success in the sand placing as high as second in a tournament during the 2013 season. She will graduate with her BS in business management and plans to pursue a business career.
Heather Olmstead5' 9"
Utah State University
Born and raised in Carpinteria, California, Heather grew up playing beach volleyball with her Dad and siblings. She played at Utah State from 1998-2001 and then played the 2003 season professionally in Rijeka, Croatia. Heather began her coaching career at Utah State, where she coached from 2003 until 2006. She is now an Assistant Coach at the University of Utah. Heather and her partner took 1st at the 2009 Life's a Beach tourney at Wasatch Beach.
Kiera Powers (Roberts)Kiera played as an outside hitter and libero at BYU-Hawaii in 2000. She has been the Wasatch Beach women's representative and has been on the board since 2011 and has been playing and enjoying sand volleyball since 2008.
Kiana RogersBrigham Young University
Kiana played indoor for BYU as a setter all 4 years from 2006 to 2010. After graduating in Health Promotion and Communications, Kiana has been coaching club volleyball for the past 3 years. This summer was her first time playing sand and she has "fallen in love" with it and is excited to play more. Kiana is originally from California and has 3 sisters who have played volleyball at UVU, Utah State with the youngest getting recruited now. Kiana also has 1 brother who plays football for the Utes.
Kelsey Rust5' 10" | 135 lbs. Kelsey played at the University of Idaho from 2005–2009. She started playing competitive club volleyball when she was 11 years old, and grew up with 2 sisters that also played Division I college volleyball at Idaho State and University of Montana. Kelsey was named Western Athletic Conference (WAC) all conference player in 2009 and was ranked 19th overall in Women's Open at Wasatch Beach in 2011. Kelsey moved to Utah from Idaho in 2010 to work in the marketing department at Adobe Systems in Orem. She got married in July 2011 and lives in Alpine Utah. In her spare time she enjoys hanging out with her family and friends in the outdoors either: running, hiking, or biking in Utah.
Leanna SmithLeanna is a rookie to the beach game. As a gifted athlete in high school her college career was cut short due to a shoulder injury. Following a 7 year layoff from the game Leanna was introduced to sand volleyball and discovered her shoulder injury was no longer an issue. Learning the new rules and strategy of the sand game she hopes to continue playing and growing in the beach game.
Airial Sprague (Salvo)6' 0" University of Washington
Airial is one of the most decorated players on the beach. She has played professionally in Puerto Rico and Switzerland, and was MVP of the professional league in 2014. She played on the USA National A2 team and the USA Junior National team. In college, she earned many accolades including All-American, Conference Player of the Year, and Conference Freshman of the Year. She grew up here in Utah and was twice named the 5A MVP and Gatorade Player of the Year while leading Viewmont to back-to-back state titles. During the 2014 outdoor season, Airial and Brenda Whicker placed 13th in the AVP Salt Lake City professional volleyball event. They also won the tournament at Steamboat Springs, took 2nd at Motherlode, and won 90% of all the tournaments they played in together. Airial is married to Jordan Sprague and lives in Layton.
Rebecca "Becky" Steel5' 9" College of Southern Idaho and University of New Orleans
Rebecca was recruited to play college basketball from American Falls, Idaho. The ultimate gym rat, she agreed to play both basketball and volleyball in both junior college and in the Sunbelt Conference. Rebecca has a passion for volleyball that will never subside and is excited about being in a position to spread her love for the game. She began coaching her daughter's club team in 2009 and expects to have 3 UOVA members in the family this summer. Rebecca balances a full-time career as a Director of National Accounts while striving to keep up with her four children.
Jenny TaylorBaylor, Texas
Jenny played 2 years indoor right side middle for UMH Baylor in Texas before moving to Utah. She then started playing local outdoor grass doubles tournaments before hearing about WBV. Jenny and partner Aundrea Hansel quickly learned the finer points of the sand game and have made there way into the top 20 rankings for the 2011 and 2012.
Nicole WarnerNicole began training at the beach in 2014 upon finishing her indoor professional career in France. Nicole enjoyed a fantastic college career as the starting Middle Blocker for BYU from 2008-2012. Nicole was the leading blocker in the NCAA during the 2011 and 2012 season and was named an All-American and All-Pacific Region player during her senior season. Additional honors include West Coast Conference All-Conference team 2012, West Coast Conference Defensive player of the year for 2012, and currently ranks 3rd all-time at BYU for block assists and 4th for total blocks. Nicole is from Rigby, Idaho and stays active water skiing, jet skiing, boating, hiking and long-boarding. She also enjoys watching and quoting her favorite movies. Nicole loves to travel to new places and experience new cultures, peoples, and food. Nicole is now pursuing a Physician Assistant career beginning in May of 2015 and will graduate in 2017. She hopes to return to the beach after her Master's degree.
Brenda Whicker6' 0" University of Utah
Brenda is a member of the University of Utah Hall of Fame after being one of the best players ever to play at the University of Utah. She started and achieved honors all four years of her career. She left Utah as the career leader in digs, aces and kills. Brenda is a very versatile player who adapted to sand doubles easily. During the 2014 season, Brenda and Airial Salvo placed 13th in the AVP Salt Lake City event. They also won the tournament at Steamboat Springs, took 2nd at Motherlode, and won 90% of all the tournaments they played in together. Brenda is married to Jeremy Whicker, has 3 boys and loves being outdoors and active. She coaches boys and girls volleyball both indoor and out and often holds juniors clinics at the sand court at her house.
Thanks to Linda Byington and all of these players for supplying the images and bios.