Born in Phoenix, he will travel to the Olympic Games in Tokyo after qualifying in beach volleyball

PHOENIX – A native Phoenix travels to the Olympic Games in Tokyo after qualifying in beach volleyball. Sarah Sponcil and Kelly Claes will be one of two women’s teams to represent the United States.

Sarah was born and raised in Phoenix. It is thanks to her parents – Lisa and Wayne Sponcil – that she and her older sister Rebecca started playing volleyball.

“I started playing volleyball when I was three or four,” said Sarah.

“Started playing volleyball and have never looked back,” said Wayne Sponcil, her father.

Sarah played indoor volleyball at the Veritas Preparatory Academy, where she won three state titles. Wayne trained the girls through high school. Her parents said Sarah was determined.

“I think it’s just cut from a different fabric,” said Wayne Sponcil.

“Myself and my dad went to the back of the school every day without exception and we trained together,” said Sarah.

“Wayne trained on the basketball courts with attitude, he hit her, made her pass. They were always easy – Sarah just always had to have a ball,” said Lisa Sponcil.

“She had to excel,” said her father.

She attended Loyola Marymount University for three years before moving to UCLA in 2018. Then she switched to beach volleyball and helped the Bruins win two national beach titles.

“I said if it doesn’t do anything other than keep them out of trouble, it will pay off on its own. In the end we were like, ‘Wow, maybe they can pay in college’ and then it just kept going.” “Said Wayne.

Sarah turned pro and competed with her teammate Kelly Claes.

“It’s a whole different world, from college beach volleyball to playing with the best people ever played,” said Sarah.

The two won gold in their last two tournaments and qualified for the Olympic Games.

“I think it’s such a magical ending and I think we got together and we had a tough road. It’s been 2.5 years in that third place and in the last second just beating everyone, it’s just great “, she said .

She always dreamed of it. She credits her parents and sister for helping her get there.

“It makes me shiver just to see how far I’ve come … Family means everything to me. My father, who is with me and trains me and my mother to go to all my games. It takes a village and it’s just like that. It’s amazing to see how it all turns out, “said Sarah.

Her parents said they couldn’t be more proud.

Sarah will travel to Tokyo on July 16.

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