Park City teen takes second in Utah beach volleyball state championship
August 18, 2018
On Aug. 4, Park City local Brianna "Brie" Miller and Elise Porter of South Jordan, took second place in the U16 division of the 2018 Utah Beach Championships in Salt Lake City.
Miller, 16, has been playing volleyball for the past six years and beach volleyball for five. She hopes to play beach volleyball, which has been an NCAA-sanctioned sport since 2012, in college. Her mother, Lisa, said Miller has been looking at several schools, and will likely make a decision on which to attend this year.
She was a student at Park City High School until this year when she opted to complete high school online, allowing her more time to travel and compete through her junior year.
Miller said she started focusing on beach volleyball because of its relaxed atmosphere.
"I love indoor (volleyball) but you're also in a gym with whistles blowing every second, while in beach you're outside, you're in nature," she said. "It's just a good vibe; it's fun. And everyone in the beach environment is so supportive of everyone else."
Beach volleyball also requires players to have a much broader skill base, because it is played with only two people on a team, meaning players must be proficient in passing, setting, hitting and blocking, skills that are emphasized for specific positions in the indoor game.
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This season, Miller has placed third place or higher in every Utah beach volleyball tournament she has competed in. She has also qualified for several national invitational tournaments throughout the season, but has struggled to find a full-time partner to compete in them with her.
She said finding a teammate is one of her goals this season.
"Here, in Utah, a lot of girls don't play on Sundays or they want to play indoor as well, so finding someone who is committed is a challenge we need to figure out," she said.
Miller said she will continue to focus on developing her skills over the winter at a new indoor beach volleyball facility in Salt Lake City, and hopes to see the sport's local community grow.
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