Scholar-Athlete Profile: Natalie Hagglund
Oct. 25, 2011
Scholar-Athlete of the Week: Natalie Hagglund
As told to Farren Benjamin, USC Sports Information Student Intern
Farren Benjamin (FB): Coming out of high school you were the nation's top-ranked libero, how much of a factor were academics in choosing USC?
Natalie Hagglund (NH): Academics were huge. I wanted to base my decision on both volleyball and academics. I think it is really important to be successful on the court and in the classroom and USC has made that a possibility. This University gives student-athletes an amazing opportunity to succeed during and after college.
FB: You have traveled all over the world to play volleyball, what is your favorite place and why?
NH: Alanya, Turkey. I got to play beach volleyball against the best people in the world. It was right on the beach and located in a very historic area where there were castles right above our playing venue and we got to interact with a lot of great players.
FB: You won a high school championships in volleyball and surfing, which sport do you think is tougher to master?
NH: It is harder to win a championship in surfing because it depends on the waves that day and your momentum. Surfing is not a team sport so it is based on an individual mindset which can be really tough.
FB: What is the key is to balancing success in the classroom and on the court?
NH: Making sure you are not too focused on just one thing and making sure that as an athlete academics don't suffer.
FB: What is your favorite class so far at USC and why?
NH: Occupational Therapy (OT 250) because my professor, Kate Crowley, is very energetic and makes learning the material both entertaining and beneficial. Especially being an athlete, it is important to learn about the body and the ways in which to improve mentally.
FB: Do you have any routine study habits to prepare you for a big test or midterm?
NH: Note cards and making sure that I start studying at least a week before so that I am not cramming in the end. If Murphy's Law comes around, I will be prepared.
FB: What is your favorite sport to watch at USC when you get free time?
NH: I love to watch men's volleyball because the pace is so quick and the men are so strong. I really love the energy they bring to the Galen Center.
FB: Compare the feeling of being the starting libero for the United States Junior National Team and being the starting libero for the USC Trojans at the Final Four your freshman year.
NH: Being the starting libero for the US National team was awesome. Being able to represent the United States and being able to wear red, white and blue is an awesome experience. However, being the starting the libero at a prestigious school such as USC is really an awesome opportunity especially with the support that we get here.
FB: How do you like wearing the number 3?
NH: I like wearing number 3. There have been some amazing liberos that have passed down the number. It was given to me my freshman year and I have worn it with pride in every match knowing that many All-American liberos have worn it in the past.
FB: What is something you enjoy doing in your leisure time?
NH: I love going to the beach and surfing because it is one of the only things that takes stress away for me.
FB: Of course you were a surfer growing up in Encinitas, California - do you miss not being able to surf as often?
NH: Definitely. It is one of the most difficult things about being a collegiate athlete is not having time between school and practice to get out in the water.
FB: What are some of your career aspirations after college?
NH: If I get the opportunity to play on a top international team, such as Italy or Spain, that would be incredible. If that doesn't work out I would love to play professional beach volleyball here in southern California.
FB: What is your dream job?
NH: To be a sideline reporter or to be an elementary school teacher.
FB: Are you as competitive in the classroom as you are on the court?
NH: Yes! I am just as competitive if not more so in the classroom. I get really annoyed when I score a 99% on a test or quiz when I know I could have gotten one more point to be perfect.
FB: What is your favorite part about being a USC Student-Athlete?
NH: I love being a part of the athletic family that USC provides and the support we get from our teachers, friends and family is incomparable.