Broughton’s own women’s volleyball star Genna Simpkins took home the USA Volleyball Beach Nationals U16 title this past July with help from her partner, Kylie Grandy, a senior at Wake Forest High School.
After qualifying regionally in North Carolina, Simpkins and Grandy made their way to Milwaukee for the USAV Beach Nationals. This was the duos third, and final time playing in Nationals together before Grandy ages out.
“My favorite part about the whole experience was being able to play with Kylie one last time before she goes to college,” Simpkins said. “It was really special to be able to win on our third and final time together.”
On their way to the title, Simpkins and Grandy ran through the 61 team field playing three matches a day for three days. The pair dropped only one set in the entire tournament to a Texas team, before coming out on top 21-17, 20-22, 15-9 in the quarter finals. In the championship match Simpkins and Grandy would find themselves at an 8-2 deficit to a pair from Ohio before taking an 11-8 lead, winning the set, and ultimately taking the title 21-18, 21-15.
“It was so much fun playing some of the best volleyball we’ve ever played together, and to do it at the right time made it that much more awesome,” Simpkins said.
Simpkins and Grandy were the only team in the field that wasn’t part of a longer organization or club or team. They had no coach, no trainer, and no official practice facilities. Simpkins and Grandy are only amateur players, so they could not receive any sort of prize money, or they would be disqualified from playing college volleyball and have to accept professional status. However, they did receive medal for their accomplishment and, of course, a national title.