These April Ross facts will show you that she is not just Kerri Walsh Jennings's new partner - she's a volleyball star in her own right and probably a great person to hang out with. Growing up in Newport Beach, California, Ross has always been a natural athlete who competed in many different sports, including basketball, soccer, and of course, volleyball. Standing at 6'1", Ross was made to be a sports star.
During her high school days, Ross was the 1999 Gatorade Circle of Champions National Player of the Year. She earned four varsity letters in volleyball as well as four in track and three in basketball. She went on to dominate in college playing all four years at the University of Southern California and winning back-to-back NCAA championships in her junior and senior year.
After teaming up with fellow USC Trojan Jennifer Kessy, Ross embarked on a very successful run in beach volleyball. According to her AVP profile, she has a total of 40 first place finishes in addition to winning AVP's Rookie of the Year in 2007 and AVP's Player of the Year in 2013.
Now with her new partner Kerri Walsh, she looks to bring home the gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Check out this list of 10 interesting facts about the 34-year-old volleyball sensation.
Instead of a high-protein smoothie or an energy bar, the crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwich is her go-to snack before hitting the gym and after practice. It's also no surprise she is an official spokesperson for the Smucker's product calling it the "perfect pick-me-up" when she is feeling low on energy during workouts. But don't worry about her diet--April fuels up on lots of protein, carbs, and fat before her match.
Like many others do before the big day, April takes time to meditate after dinner. Her meditation includes prayer and visualization to help her get in the right mindset before resting for the match. During her interview with ESPNW, she states that, "meditation is huge," because it allows her to, "recognize thoughts and fears," without feeling overwhelmed.
According to her bio on USC's sports page, April is regarded as one of the best all-around players in the school's history. Throughout her collegiate career, she earned four All-American selections, led her team in kills, kills per game, and points every season, and led the team to the NCAA championship back-to-back. During all this, she still managed to graduate with a degree in international marketing.
Her younger sister, Amy, played soccer at Concordia University in Irvine, while her dad, Glen, was a referee for soccer and lacrosse. When April and her sister were younger, their dad coached them in soccer. She credits her father for her "healthy competitive mentality."