Duke

Freshman volleyball player is also a black belt

Posted September 16, 2011

Before she started her college volleyball career at Duke University, Brittney Balser had already reached a key athletic accomplishment. The 6'1" freshman is a black belt in tae kwon do.

Balser started studying tae kwon do in sixth grade, but it took her longer than most to advance because of her other activities. 

"Because I played volleyball, I'd have to balance," she said. "I'd have high school season for about three months when I couldn't go to tae kwon do classes."

Duke's Balser is a black belt Duke's Balser is a black belt

Knowing she'd have to focus on the court and the classroom once at Duke, Balser set herself a deadline. "It was something I really wanted to do before I got to college," she said.

When she got her black belt in May, Balser said, she cried happy tears. "It was awesome," she said.

Jolene Nagel, the Blue Devils head volleyball coach, recognizes the positives of Balser's martial arts training. It is good for strength and mental toughness, she said.

Nagel and her staff are considering incorporating some of Balser's tae kwon do moves into workouts for the rest of the team. "We're really hoping to throw those in to lighten up a practice sometime and try to learn something about the sport that she takes so seriously," Nagel said.

"It's exciting. It's neat that she has something else in her world in addition to her studies, in addition to her volleyball that's helped her develop as a young woman," the coach added.

The Blue Devils, who made the regional finals in 2010, are the pick to win the ACC championship for the fourth time in six years. 

 

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