📅31 December 2014
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By Jesse Pinkston Santos

Cajon player, student, well-known model and now a National Team Beach Volleyball player; this unstoppable 25-year-old bombshell is a force to be reckoned with. Jasmin Mercedes Wenzel has only been playing beach volleyball for a year and is now going to be representing Guam in upcoming beach events.

“I had no prior learning experience in beach volleyball or indoor. I jumped in willing and ready; everything took off from there,” stated Wenzel. This double-major in exercise science and education student learned from other players as well as watching YouTube channels.

“I remember going to the Beach Bar and watching people play (people who I now am close with) with the eager attitude of wanting to learn. I started trying 4 on 4 and slowly made my way on to 2 on 2. I didn’t care if I was playing terrible because I knew in time I would progress. I made great volleyball friends along the way.”

The JFK graduate never played sports preceding beach volleyball.

Jasmine showing love for the sport that has become a big part of her life now. (courtesy photo)

Jasmine showing love for the sport that has become a big part of her life now. (courtesy photo)

“I don’t know what it is about beach volleyball but the first time I played, I instantly fell in love with it. Prior to this, I have never participated in any sports, only in gym class. Everything about the sport came from self motivation. I know it sounds cliché, but I didn’t choose volleyball, it chose me.”

Obviously a lot of time and effort goes into playing any sport. For the Yigo resident, it took a year to get the fundamentals down. Wenzel admits that she is better, but admits she still has much more to learn.

“All I was doing was trying to play every day whenever I could and try to get at a level where people could actually play with me and not get frustrated with the way I play. I would try and go 3 or 4 times a week and I still do that now. Repetition was the mother of my skill in this case.”

The announcement of the National Team caught Jasmin by surprise but she didn’t let that stop her. As soon as she heard about it, she was on board to give it a shot. “I found out about it almost last minute. I could not let the opportunity of training with professionals and possibly going off-island to play my favorite sport pass me by.”

National team tryouts run over a course of about eight weeks, playing in pools of four or five randomly and the goal is to make it to the last round. Attending tryouts everyday is crucial. Points were calculated depending on which level the player makes it to and points are tallied at the end of tryouts. Needless to say, Jasmin dedicated herself and secured a spot on the team.

Wenzel putting in work in the early morning practices which usually start at 6 am.

Wenzel putting in work in the early morning practices which usually start at 6 am. (courtesy photo)

“My first goal of making it on the team has been accomplished, so now I look forward to just getting better one day at a time and hopefully being able to go off-island to compete. Ultimately, I want to be able play volleyball for as long as I possibly can and wherever I can.”

Although she does not have a set partner, she looks at it as a positive.

“I believe that diversifying your partners and competitors helps you to become a more adaptive and versatile player. There is so much I am learning from the coaches and everyone around me. I am so thankful for this.”

With a bright future ahead, Wenzel knows the only way to go is up. She looks forward to the possibilities of representing the island as well as playing games against high level players. Jasmin’s best advice to anyone, not just athletes is “Follow your heart and your dreams. Do what you love and always work toward becoming the best version of yourself.”

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