If you happen to spot a student walking on campus with a cat in her backpack and a volleyball in one hand, you may have stumbled past beach volleyball player, Reagan Peterson. Oreo keeps her busy, and so does her sport, and they have more in common than you might think.
Both speak to Peterson’s thirst for adventure. On her drive to college last year, Peterson wasn’t content to fly. She wanted to make the cross-country trip a memorable experience so she road tripped with her black and white cat in the car from North Carolina to Seattle, occasionally making pit stops to explore nature with Oreo riding in her “cat backpack.”
That adventurous spirit is what led Peterson to volleyball back in middle school in North Carolina. During a physical testing event in seventh grade, she’d just finished the broad jump. Her P.E. teacher, then the high school’s volleyball coach, suggested she try volleyball because of her jumping ability, Peterson recounted.
Peterson had always wanted to play field hockey or lacrosse but went out on a limb and trusted her P.E. teacher. That trust paid off as she excelled in volleyball in high school and was named a Second-team All-Conference selection. She also excelled in track and field in high school.
She started playing beach volleyball in 2020, since it was one of the first sports to open back up during COVID-19. One of her coaches encouraged her to try the outdoor sport because it would help with her training for track and field. She added beach volleyball to an already busy athletics schedule which included multiple state titles in the relay events in 2019.
“[The coach said] it’s basically combining indoor [volleyball] and track…. It’s perfect for you,” Peterson said.
Peterson’s decision to focus on beach volleyball led her to join the Huskies last year as the only freshman on the team.
“[Being the only freshman] was a really intimidating but also really amazing experience, and I’m so thankful to have had such inspiring teammates,” Peterson said.
The choice to head across country for college has paid off for Peterson, who is competing at a high level athletically and was recently placed into the electrical and computer engineering programs at UW this summer. Peterson only lived in Tacoma for six months before going to Colorado and settling in North Carolina. Peterson is back in the PNW studying at UW, one of the top S.T.E.M programs in the country which was named fourth-best electrical engineering program in the…