Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+
Jess Vastine Earns National Strength and Conditioning Award
Beach Volleyball  . 

Jess Vastine Earns National Strength and Conditioning Award

The junior is a crossover athlete, competing for the indoor and beach volleyball teams

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) announced its annual All-American Athlete Awards late last week, and South Carolina junior Jess Vastine was recognized for her efforts with the indoor and beach volleyball teams. Vastine is the first-ever honoree for the Gamecock indoor program, and second for the beach volleyball program.

The NSCA recognizes student-athletes at the Division I, II and III levels as well as high school across 22 sports. The award recognizes athletic accomplishments that reflect the time dedicated to strength training and conditioning, and also factors in academic excellence and community service. Nominees are put up for consideration by their team’s strength and conditioning coaches.

“If there’s an athlete that deserves this type of recognition, it’s Jess. It’s rare to see a dual sport student-athlete at this level, it takes a lot of physical and mental preparation with not a lot of downtime,” said Keith Scruggs, the strength and conditioning coach for both the indoor and beach volleyball programs. “I’m proud of her commitment, it’s a privilege to coach her. She brings both of her teams so much energy, I’m glad to see her appreciated like this at a national level.”

Vastine enjoyed a career year in the fall with the indoor program, playing in all 114 sets for the Gamecocks. She set career highs in every major statistical category and became just the fourth different Gamecock in the last decade to surpass 200 kills and 200 digs in a season. The team reached 20 wins and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history.

The indoor success came on the heels of Vastine’s breakout season on the beach in 2019. In year two, she made the biggest year-to-year jump in program history, going from five wins in 2018 as a freshman to 19 wins as a sophomore. Of those 19 wins, 16 came in the No. 4 pair, six came against conference rivals and four came against ranked opponents. She ended 2019 on a hot streak, winning seven of the last nine matches, highlighted by wins over No. 20 TCU and No. 16 Georgia State.

The Wittmann, Ariz. native was poised for another major step in this 2020 beach season before it was cut short. Vastine had moved all the way to the top of South Carolina’s lineup, earning nine starts in the number one pairing with teammate Carly Schnieder. Ironically, Schnieder was the program’s first-ever recipient of the NSCA’s All-American Athlete Award.

The full list of the NSCA’s All-American Athletes of the Year winners will be announced in April.