It wasn’t easy for VanderWerp to watch his classmates and friends at Western Michigan Christian rack up state championships in both of the sports he once played, but the trade-off is worth it now.
VanderWerp, 21, will compete alongside some of the world’s best on Saturday evening at the Winter Beach Bash beach volleyball exhibition at the DeltaPlex in Grand Rapids.
VanderWerp will be joined by Olympic gold medalists Todd Rogers, Phil Dalhausser and Kerri Walsh — people he once idolized and now calls friends.
“It’ll be a great experience, rubbing shoulders with them, and it’s been great training with them,” VanderWerp said. “I started training with them last year out in Santa Barbara (Calif.) It’s an honor to be able to train with them and play with them.”
Walsh, Dalhausser and Rogers hope to add to their gold medal tally at the London Olympic games this summer. VanderWerp, on the other hand, has his sites set on the 2016 games in Rio De Janeiro.
“My ultimate goal is to play in the Olympics,” VanderWerp said. “I just got named to the 2016 beach national development team. That’s for the 2016 Olympics, guys 26 and under.”
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