1. How to pronounce my last name
It sounds like Harvard but with a ‘w’ instead of a ‘v.’ So – Harward.
2. If I weren’t playing volleyball, I would love to pursue singing.
I have always been in love with singing and music. I grew up doing voice lessons, recitals, and choir, but volleyball always took priority. When I was 12 years old, I was asked to sing the National Anthem at the Volleyball Festival; it was the first time I ever sang in front of a crowd. Over the next several years, I performed the anthem at various levels of volleyball, baseball, and basketball events. This past summer, I was given the opportunity to sing the anthem at AVP Atlanta before the women’s final. Earlier this year, I auditioned for American Idol and made it to the second round, and I will be auditioning for the Voice this December; please wish me luck!
Photo cred: Linda Harward (left); AVP (right)
3. I have quite a few allergies, but the most severe is a tree nut allergy.
I got the allergies from my dad…thanks, Dad. I’m allergic to pretty much all nuts – besides peanuts because they are, in fact, not nuts but legumes. I am also allergic to some types of trees (one being the Arizona state tree) and cats and dogs. Because of my allergies, I have never had a pet besides a few fish and some hermit crabs. I am still hoping to have a hypoallergenic dog someday!
4. I played a combined 8 ½ seasons of NCAA indoor and beach volleyball in college.
I think that might be a record! During the recruiting process, I couldn’t decide between beach and indoor, so I only focused on schools where I could play both. I landed at Long Beach State (LBSU), where I played indoor for four years as an Outside Hitter and Libero and two years on the beach team. I suffered a foot injury in my junior year and could not play the Spring beach season. I was on track to graduate a semester early, which gave me the opportunity to earn a Master’s degree while playing my final two seasons of beach volleyball. I decided to transfer to USC in the spring of 2020 to finish my NCAA beach volleyball career and earn a Master’s in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I arrived at USC in January 2020, just before the world shut down due to COVID. Our season was canceled after only playing six matches, so the NCAA awarded all Spring student-athletes an extra season of eligibility. Fortunately for me, with an additional year of eligibility, I was able to earn a second master’s degree in Marketing while playing two more seasons of beach volleyball at USC. I left college with 8 ½ seasons of competition under my belt.
5. One of my favorite places in the world is Whitefish, Montana.
Growing up, my family had a second home in the quaint town of Whitefish, Montana. Some of my favorite memories are from winter ski trips and cozy movie nights by the fireplace, seemingly endless summer days on the lake, fishing until the sun set around 10 PM, gorgeous hikes through the trees, and exploring with my big brother, Spencer.
6. I have crowd-surfed in a hotdog suit.
During my freshman year at LBSU, one of my upperclassman beach volleyball teammates, Ciana Wagner, wore a hotdog suit to all the men’s volleyball matches in the Pyramid (LBSU’s famous gym). After she graduated, she wanted to keep the LB hotdog tradition alive. She chose me as her successor and had faith that I would continue her legacy by bringing off-the-charts energy at home matches and wearing the hotdog suit with pride. I was fortunate enough to wear this hotdog suit for two years of men’s volleyball matches (my sophomore and junior years), both of which they won the National Championship. Yes, I did, in fact, crowd surf in the student section – and yes, I did pass down the hotdog suit so the legend could live on.
Photo cred: Jim Wolf
6. Faith in Jesus has grown and shaped me in so many beautiful ways over the last two years.
My parents and I identified as Christian, but I didn’t really understand what that meant until August 2020. I moved into a new apartment with my three other roommates, who are very strong in their faith. I had the opportunity to ask them a ton of questions about religion and what it means to them. I was super curious to understand what the truth is, so I purchased a Bible and entered my journey with a blank slate. I am still constantly learning, but I believe that what I am reading and experiencing in my life is the truth. I am so thankful that I was exposed to the gospel so that I can come to know Jesus and live a life devoted to God and glorifying Him. I highly encourage everyone to seek out who Jesus is for themselves. 😊
7. I broke two records for my middle school track team in 6th grade.
As a track and field athlete, I competed in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m, and long jump. In 6th grade, I was so thin my mom said I looked like a bird, but I could still sprint down that track fast enough to break our school record in the 100m and 4x100m relay. Once puberty set in and I gained some muscle, I could never catch up to my 6th-grade self. I stopped running in 8th grade.
9. My favorite icebreaker question: “You got any jokes?”
I absolutely love making people laugh. It is one of my favorite pastimes. My “dad jokes” aren’t all knee slappers, but it is fun to try to make someone smile and maybe even get some new material to tell my dad, because he is a true jokester.
10. I left both my high school and college volleyball programs with back-to-back championships.
I attended Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, AZ, where our team won the first-ever Division-I State Championship for our volleyball program in 2014 and repeated in 2015. Fast forward to 2021, when I was lucky enough to compete alongside my USC teammates to win our first NCAA National Championship together and go back-to-back in 2022. I am forever grateful for all the girls I shared the court with and the memories we made along the way.
11. In my free time, I like to shred the waves.
I have taken up surfing this year, and I absolutely love it. I am itching to get in the water any chance I can get. One day a pod of dolphins joined us, and one swam right under my board!