When Paso Robles High School senior Tegan Curren was in third grade, she remembers watching Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings play beach volleyball.
“I was like, ‘That’s so cool!’ ” Curren said.
She immediately started playing indoor volleyball. The next year, she tried her hand at beach volleyball.
“I actually hated it, which is so ironic,” Curren said.
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It’s ironic because Curren grew to love beach volleyball, and on Thursday in the Performing Arts Center at Paso Robles High School, she signed a National Letter of Intent to play the sport at Long Beach State, the alma mater of Misty May-Treanor.
“I wasn’t sure that I wanted to play in college,” Curren said. “But I went to a tournament, and a girl said (Long Beach coach Mike Campbell) was looking for girls. I emailed him, and he called me back like five minutes later.”
It didn’t take long for the 5-foot-11 Curren to decide what to do next.
“I have been playing since the end of third grade, and I have always wanted to play, so I just went for it,” Curren said.
Curren had a stand out high school career inside the gym. She had 156 kills and the best hitting percentage of her career at 33 percent in her senior season this past fall.
But when she wasn’t playing for the school or the club team, she was on the sand courts of Santa Barbara or Pismo Beach.
That’s where she met Sue Campbell, an administrator and coach at the Pismo Beach Volleyball Club. Campbell picked Curren to play in an AVP First event and took her under her wing.
“There is a lot of opportunities right now,” Campbell said, recalling what she told Curren about the possibilities in the sport. “It has only been a few years since they have been having beach programs at colleges. I told her there’s not going to be a lot of money, but at least you can get in and play ball in college.”
And that’s exactly what she did. Curren said she won’t get a scholarship but instead will walk-on and be a part of a program that is ranked No. 7 in a sport that just crowned its first NCAA national champion last year.
“I don’t think I would be going to Long Beach and where I am today if (Campbell) wasn’t around,” Curren said.
Curren, who is the first college beach volleyball player to come out of Paso Robles High, also gave credit to her parents and friends during an emotional signing ceremony.
“I’m here not just because of coaches ... but all of you,” Curren said to the dozens who had gathered. “You have all done something for me, and I thank you so much for being with me though the high school years, some of you middle school. Thank you guys so much. You guys are all the bomb.”