Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

PASSIONATE PURSUITS Francina Edmonds

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

PASSIONATE PURSUITS Francina Edmonds

Article excerpt

While most college freshmen are just unpacking their belongings to begin dorm life, Francina Edmonds is already well-established in her new home away from home 3,000 miles away. At the University of California at Santa Barbara since mid July, she's busily playing in beach tournaments and doing weight and cardiovascular training in preparation for volleyball season's start late this month.

Volleyball is the reason Edmonds, 17, chose Santa Barbara, a powerhouse school in the varsity sport. Like others including Duke, Georgia, Clemson, Florida State, Texas Christian and Ohio State that recruited her during her two years at The Bolles School, the university was attracted to her strong performance as an outside hitter and middle blocker for Bolles and elite club teams.

Though it was a tough decision between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UCSB, Edmonds said she was ultimately attracted to the latter's reputation as a past national championship winner and the lure of the Golden State. "Mom wanted me close to home on the East Coast. I always wanted to be in California." One of three girls recruited for the Santa Barbara squad, she has been awarded a full scholarship and hopes to become an All American and make it to the national team. For her academic major she's considering broadcast journalism.

California and volleyball have become synonymous in part due to legendary school teams, Edmonds said, adding "now it's so big because everyone plays beach volleyball." She praised the beach version for helping overall game skills like vertical shots. "When you get indoors, then you're flying. Going from sand to wood floors is a big help."

A player for four years, the college freshman also has a history with softball, basketball and track. Though she repeated last spring as state champion in the high jump with a leap of 5 feet 4 inches, her obvious first love is the game of volleyball. …

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