Gabby Rambo (front middle) signs with Tusculum College on Thursday, March 7, while surrounded by family, friends and coaches at David Crockett High School.

By MARINA WATERS

Staff Writer

mwaters@heraldandtribune.com

David Crockett High School volleyball player Gabby Rambo will soon be trading hardwood for sand.

Rambo signed to play beach ball at Tusculum College on Thursday, March 7. Rambo, who is the first Crockett athlete to ever sign to play beach volleyball, said her decision to choose sand volleyball over court volleyball stems from her desire to be challenged.

“It’s a lot different. One thing is you can’t jump as high,” Rambo said, laughing. “You have to work on communicating with your partner more. In sand volleyball, it’s different because you have to be an all-around player, so playing every position on the court, I had to take that skill and put it on the sand volleyball court. It’s just more challenging I thought than court volleyball. That’s why I wanted to go into that instead.”

Rambo will be new to the program, but the program will also be new to Tusculum as it starts its inaugural season. The hard work and summer tournaments will be all too familiar for the Crockett senior, however.

For the beach volleyball signee, it all started with a backyard court her dad created with poles and concrete-filled tires back before she had attended public school. Rambo was homeschooled from third grade through eighth grade and started playing for the Washington County School System a few years after TSSAA changed its regulations, allowing homeschooled athletes to participate in school sports.

“I didn’t have a gym at the time, especially when I was homeschooled,” She said.

“I remember going out and practicing everyday working on my jump serve and hitting. It was nice having my brother, Jacob, setting me balls to hit. We still go out there on the same net and just have fun.”

Since then, Rambo has played in numerous outdoor tournaments throughout the summer at places like Wetlands and Tusculum, where she was first introduced to the Tusculum coach. Now, she said she’s looking forward to pushing herself, bonding with her future sand volleyball partner and putting in the extra physical effort beach volleyball requires in her next chapter.

“I think the traveling and just showing my skills on a different playing field (is something to look forward to),” Rambo said. “It’s harder to jump, run, and takes all your muscle strength and cardio to perform tasks that would be easier on the court. I’m also very excited because the team seems very family based and close. The coaches there, they just welcomed me. I’m very excited about working with them.”

She may be headed to the sand, but Rambo said her time at Crockett will stick with her. She said above all, she’ll miss her girls on the court after a senior season full of team bonding.

“I’ve really enjoyed my senior year,” Rambo said. “I feel like we’ve gotten really close. We’ve had a lot of good memories on this team. Everyone has been very supportive and it’s just been a good experience for my senior year.”