She found a Way!

Rianne Brown’s determination and hard work to play beach volleyball through high school led to a scholarship.

Local Weber High School Athlete, Rianne Brown, was recently signed with the CMU Women’s Beach Volleyball Team and received a scholarship. This is a long-time goal she has had since being a young girl. Rianne started playing beach volleyball when she lived in Arizona and fell in love. She took part in camps from the early age of 8 and eventually joined a club team. She loves the game and plays indoor court and outdoor beach volleyball, but her heart has always been in the sand! She found coaches at RPM Sand: Nick Bowling and Ryan Mariano, whose support has been instrumental to her success.

At one point, the family was concerned that they couldn’t afford to have Rianne play and train due to financial concerns. Rianne began baking and selling pies, taking on extra babysitting jobs, and working wherever she could to come up with the money to pay for her fees; all while going to school, playing and practicing volleyball daily, and supporting her family. She found a way!

A couple of years later, her father took a new job in Utah, and the family had to move. When Rianne found out that Utah does not have high school beach volleyball programs, she was heartbroken. Through some research, she found a club team in Salt Lake and drove there a few times a week to get practice and play time in order to continue pursuing her dream, but things weren’t looking good for her college beach volleyball goal. Still, she persisted. She then talked to her coach in Arizona, who invited her to come down and play with him over her breaks. She did. She sacrificed her vacations and three-day weekends to drive through snow and ice to get to Phoenix, just to get some top-level coaching at RPM Sand in Phoenix. She found a way. Rianne was competing at a high level, placing in the top 5 at over 40 tournaments, but she worried that her beach skills were not improving enough. She was facing some harsh realities; there are only 90 total teams in the NCAA, each of which is highly competitive and only looks for new talent at high schools with beach teams. These teams are primarily found in California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, and Colorado. The challenges never seemed to get her down. She attacked each practice with vigor, and she continued to fight for her dream. Literally, come rain or shine, she would practice and play. She found a way.

After Rianne called her coach, Nick Bowling, to tell him the awesome news that she had been offered a spot on the Beach Team at Colorado Mesa, he took to Facebook to tell his side of the story. He wrote the post through tears of joy. He said, “So many obstacles, so many times where she was all alone in Utah without a team or a program to train with. So many times that I am sure she wanted to give up! Coaching is such a rewarding thing. It is incredible to get to watch young people deal with adversity. Some quit, some complain, some can be incredibly ungrateful and blame their lack of success on coaches, or other teammates, or refs, or just the obstacles that life brings. Many don’t even realize how easy they have it compared to others. This young lady stayed the course. This young lady was grateful every second for the opportunities she had, and she worked hard every second, not ever knowing if she would have another one or not!” She found a way!

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