Aubrey Everett

Alaina Bergsma relishes roles as volleyball player and pageant queen

by Aubrey Everett November 04, 2012 in Volleyball

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The University of Oregon women’s volleyball team is in the middle of a season-long hot streak and driving the bus is senior Alaina Bergsma. The 6’3” outside hitter is leading her squad to one of its most successful seasons in recent years, and still finding time to be productive and charitable off the court.

Bergsma has been nominated as one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. The honor recognizes Division I women’s volleyball athletes who not only put up big numbers at the net, but also excel in the classroom and donate a considerable amount of their free time to community service endeavors. The winner of the award, which stands for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, is someone who exemplifies all of these characteristics.

In addition to her position as leader on the court, Bergsma has another title that may not show up on her volleyball resume – she is also the reigning Miss Oregon USA 2012. She competed in the Miss USA Pageant in June and left her mark as the tallest contestant in pageant history.

“I try to approach pageants the same way as sports,” Bergsma said, noting that in both competitive settings, it all comes down to confidence. “After I won [Miss Oregon] I really embraced it. It is two completely different platforms and I’m breaking a stereotype. Thankfully, my coaches and the media department decided to embrace it too.”

The Chandler, Ariz., native is studying business administration with a focus in sports business, and has been a solid student throughout her collegiate career. She earned Pac-12 All-Academic Second-Team honors in 2011 and has toyed with the idea of going to law school. Engaged to professional basketball player Kevin Coble, who is currently playing oversees, Bergsma said she is excited to continue her volleyball career for as long as possible, and would ultimately like to stay in the sports world in some capacity.

“I’m enjoying [my senior year]. I try not to put too much pressure on myself and just play,” she said. “It’s definitely my last chance to do some pretty cool things, and I’m loving that.”

Finding slivers of time between games, practice, and school, Bergsma has fulfilled more than 100 community service hours over the past year. She has used both her platforms as a collegiate athlete and Miss Oregon to dedicate hours to the Oregon Children’s Miracle Network, commit to speaking engagements at local county fairs, coach open gym volleyball at South Eugene High School, and help with a fundraiser for Oregon Medical Group, among other activities.

“My favorite part by far is getting to talk to people,” Bergsma said of her community service work. “Some of the most touching [moments] was talking to some middle schoolers about self-image and encouraging them to embrace what they’re given. I struggled being tall, even though I loved it for sports, it was tough in junior high being taller than everyone.

“I’ve had so many more opportunities because I’m not only Miss Oregon, I’m also a student-athlete. People get so excited that I can come and talk on a lot of different platforms. I feel like Oregon really embraced me.”

Although she is not planning to continue with pageantry, Bergsma said the experience has been phenomenal and has added diversity to her life. Her competitive nature, which has carried her through her volleyball career and into a remarkable 2012 season with the Ducks, has never been stronger.

“Going into a competition, if I’m going to win, I want to compete against everyone when they’re at their best.”