As we learned last week on SANDCAST: Beach Volleyball with Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter presented by Marriott Vacation Club Rentals, the cat’s out of the bag: April Ross will play the 2018 season and hopefully beyond with Alix Klineman.
On paper, the two will be a formidable pair, Ross, the best server and one of the best defenders in the world, and Klineman, the 6-foot-5 blocker who has an AVP final appearance and a third-place under her belt. One problem: Klineman, who played indoors has just last season as full-time beach experience. The road to Tokyo 2020 will not be easy, though as Ross says on SANDCAST, “it’s not supposed to be easy.”
“What is the meaning if what you’re doing if you’re not being challenged?” she says. “If you don’t have these things that will help you grow and things to help you overcome, what’s the point?”
The team within the team for the journey to #Tokyo2020! So pumped to put in the hard work and see what we can do! 👊🏼🎉 Also help us come up with a hashtag and win a @thewilsonvb – deets below! #Repost @aklineman10 ・・・ Cheers to a new partnership!🥂 Beyond excited to be teaming up with @aprilrossbeach and @jenniferkessy as we work towards competing in #Tokyo2020. I am so honored to have the opportunity to play alongside and learn from one of the best in our sport and look forward to sharing this journey together. P.s. we haven’t figured out a team name and need your input! Winner gets a signed ball from the 3 of us!
If you missed the first half of the interview, the link is below. In Part 2, Ross discusses the path ahead, the inevitable challenges ahead, her mindset moving forward, as well as pairing up with former partner Jen Kessy, who will coach Ross-Klineman. Ross and Kessy, of course, were one of the best teams in American beach-volleyball history, medaling in 17 out of 20 FIVB tournaments in a stretch from 2008-2010, finishing with a silver medal in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where they lost to Kerri Walsh and Misty May.
Few, if any, in the game know Ross’ style better than Kessy.
“One of the things I learned the importance of is building a like-minded team around yourself,” Ross said. “Having the same mentality, the same goals, the same work ethic are all really important. Alix and I don’t know each other very well but it’s funny how connected we feel.”
The first glimpse the beach volleyball world will have of Ross-Klineman will be in The Hague on January 3, where Ross, who has won 21 international tournaments, will likely be in a country quota.
“We’re training every day,” Ross said. “Doing everything we can to get better every day.”
Also in SANDCAST, Ross discusses a Gatorade photo shoot she took with one of the most accomplished groups of athletes:
Where to find April Ross
— April Ross (@AprilRossBeach) December 1, 2017