GH's Vanderwerp living a whirlwind life on the sand

For his 21st birthday last week, Grand Haven native and Western Michigan Christian graduate Stevo Vanderwerp said the best gift he received was another day of training with Olympic beach volleyball gold medalists Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser - the top-ranked team in the world and two of the biggest stars of the 2008 Beijing games. It's just another perk in a whirlwind life on the sand for Vanderwerp, who is well on his way at asserting himself as one of the top up-and-coming U.S. players in the sport.
Nate Thompson
Apr 6, 2011

    Rogers became friends with Vanderwerp’s father, Scott, during his days of promoting the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) tour stops in Muskegon and Grand Haven. When Rogers learned that Stevo and his playing partner, Matt McKinney, were training at the Olympic Beach Volleyball Development training facility in Chula Vista, Calif. — and other California hot spots — and were one of the more promising, young teams in the nation, he offered his expertise.
    “It is refreshing and rare to see a young man of 21 be so driven and committed to be the best he can be,” Rogers said. “That is why he has a standing invitation to train with Phil and I, as I know he will push me.”
    Rogers, 37, is known as a defensive extraordinaire, having been named the AVP’s top defensive player four different times. Daulhausser, 31, is a 6-foot-9 freak in the sport, and is able to dominate at the net with his reach.
    “It’s a hard question to answer (what we learn from them). We just go out there and play,” Vanderwerp said. “You just pick up little things from day-to-day. Obviously, they’re the best in the world, so they can turn it on anytime they want. It’s good to practice and go up against that type of competition.
    “A lot of things they talk about is stuff outside of the game, like travel and taking care of your body. It’s been really nice having them open up to us.”

To read more of this story, see today's print edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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