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USA Volleyball

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Mikaela Foecke

Hometown – West Point, Iowa – Population 1,000

High School – Holy Trinity Catholic School – K – 12 total enrollment is about 300 students

Club – Iowa Rockets (in Iowa City which is 70 miles from my home)

Position – Middle Blocker/Hitter

Height – 6’3”      Block Touch – 9’ 8”  Jump Touch – 10’3”

Favorite Warm-up Song – “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Best Halloween Costume – Dorothy (from the Wizard of Oz)

Favorite Halloween Candy – Candy Corn

7.    If you could meet any current or former Olympian, who would it be and why? I had the opportunity to meet Jordan Larson this past Summer, while at Volleyball Camp in Nebraska.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet her because she played in the 2012 London Games (Olympics), and she played for Nebraska in college and was very successful.  These are both current goals of mine as well, that I work hard for every day and strive to do in the future.

8.    Other sports/activities/hobbies:I used to play Basketball and Softball, but I have focused on only Volleyball for the past 2 ½ years.

I used to also do Dance.

I am still involved in our County Fair and local 4H Club, and I enjoy going to the Iowa State Fair each year.

9.    When did you start playing volleyball? I started playing Volleyball in 7th Grade

10.  Are you from a "volleyball family"? Do any of your family members play collegiate or professional sports? I’m an only child and neither my mom nor dad played any sports in college, however, they have helped me a lot by working with me regularly in the gym to become a better player.

11.  Who was the most influential person in helping you to develop as a volleyball player? My parents and Club Coaches have been the biggest influences in my life in regards to volleyball.  They are always doing what they can to help me to reach my goals.

12.  What part of your background best prepared you for playing at an elite level? Having the opportunity to play on a successful Club Team with great teammates and coaches has helped me a lot to be ready to play at a very high level.  In addition to playing and practicing with my regular team, I have a couple of plyometric routines and exercises that I work on at home regularly, and I also go to the gym with my parents several times a week to work on various skills (hitting, blocking, serving, etc…..etc.).  I am very driven internally, and always want to do better.  I constantly set goals for myself and the teams I am playing on, to try to push us all a little further each time.  I like to dream big and work hard, because I know if you do good things will happen.

13.  What USAV HP Programs have you been involved in?  Are these different from other programs you have been involved in?   If so, what makes them different? I played for the Iowa HP Team for 3 years; the first year was after my 7th Grade year in JH as a 13 year old.  We played at the Wisconsin Dells in the HP Championships and took 3rd place.  The next year we played in Tucson, AZ and got 1st place and then last year we played in Des Moines, IA and got 2nd place.  This past Summer I was fortunate enough to be selected to be on the USA Youth National VB Team.  We traveled to Thailand, to play in the World Tournament against some of the best Teams in the world, and won the Silver medal.  We became the first USA Youth National VB Team to ever win a medal at this age level, and that was very exciting.

The biggest differences between the HP programs and the other teams I play on is that the HP teams are made up of girls from all over, and we came together and practiced for a very short time and then played in a single Tournament and then that was it.  We all went back home and back to our own School and Club teams, so you had a very short amount of time to get to know each other and work together, and come together as a team, and that can be challenging.  The other difference is certainly the caliber of the Coaches that HP is able to offer through the USAV program.  These coaches have generally been college level coaches or higher with tons of volleyball knowledge and expertise, and that has definitely been a positive factor in helping me to become a better player.

14.  What is the happiest moment in your volleyball career? The happiest moment in my volleyball career, wow that is tough.  There have been a lot of happy moments over the last 3 or 4 years.  I’ve been fortunate to be a part of teams that have had a lot of success in National Tournaments, and now in a World Tournament this year.  We’ve won Gold Medals on 2 occasions, Silver Medals on 3 occasions and Bronze Medals on 2 occasions.  However, I would have to say that my happiest (proudest) moment would be winning the Silver Medal this past Summer, while playing for the USA Youth National VB Team at the World Tournament, and being a part of the first USA Team that has ever Medaled at this age level.  It is very exciting to be able to say that I was part of a Team that did something no one else has ever done.  Especially with the group of girls and coaches we had, they were all just terrific to be around both on and off the court.  

15.  Describe some improvements you want to make, in the coming year, in the physical or mental side of your game. As I mentioned, I’m always striving to improve my overall game.  A couple of things I’m currently working hard to improve on are in regards to my defensive game.  I’m working to become a better blocker, and I’m also working on my digging and serve/receive.  I intend to be a 6 rotation player in college, and I haven’t had a whole lot of good experience yet in playing back row, so I am working hard on that right now.

16.  Do you want to play volleyball collegiately and/or professionally?  Do you strive to represent the USA one day as an Olympian? I have verbally committed to play volleyball for Nebraska in college.  I am a Junior currently in High School, so it will be 2015 when I head to Nebraska to play for the Cornhuskers.  I would love to have the opportunity to play in the Olympics someday, and that is definitely one of my long term goals at this point.  I don’t know a whole lot yet about what it’s like to play volleyball professionally, however, if I get an opportunity to get paid, to be able to continue doing something I love (after college) I will definitely be taking a closer look at it.