Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Monday's with Madi
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 24, 2014
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Hello Sand Cat followers!

Whew… What a long week! We just got back from Hawaii after midnight last night and I have so much to share from our trip!

Tuesday we arrived and checked into our hotel then headed straight to the beach for practice. As funny as it sounds, this was the first time the sand cats had practiced on a real beach! Needless to say it was a little different from the incredible facility we have at our university. It’s crazy how different sand can be, and how the different elements such as the wind and humidity play into the game. After practice we all headed to famous Waikiki Beach for some free time to hang out in the waves.

Wednesday was our first day of competition. This day was a team challenge meaning that our team plays the other team that matches the same rank order (1’s team plays the other 1’s team, 2s play 2s and so on). We faced some pretty stiff opponents against University of Hawaii and University of Southern California. We all played well but unfortunately could not clinch either one of the series’ in the end for the team challenge.

Thursday was our one day of real spring break, a day off with no worries or obligations. The entire team went to Lanikai Beach and just got to soak up the sun and play in the waves. It was an awesome day of complete relaxation, which is pretty rare for us.

Friday was the start of the pair’s competition. Every individual pairs team there is put into a 3-team pool and if you won one or both of your games you could advance to the gold bracket for the next day. Losing both games put a team in the silver bracket for the next day. After competition, me, my parents and a few of the girls went on a catamaran cruise out past Diamond Head into the open ocean. Yes, my parents traveled all the way to Hawaii to watch me play. What a rough place to have to go to watch their child play! After the cruise we went to this incredible sushi place (that I can’t remember the name of for the life of me) for dinner. The white dragon roll was a huge hit. If they had this in Tucson I would go broke.

Saturday was the last day of the tournament and pairs competition. It was single elimination, but we had teams that kept advancing and played on long into the day. After the longest and last day of competition, we were exhausted. A few of the more adventurous girls (including myself, our athletic trainer, assistant coach, and other teammates) decided it would be fun to go on a hike to a waterfall. We went to Maunawili to hike to Maunawili Falls. Little did we know that after a bit of rainfall in the jungle, the trail turns into a muddy mess. We took off our shoes and marched on, and wow was it hilarious slipping and sliding all over the roots and rocks on the ground. It was totally worth it after hiking a mile and a half through the mud to get to the waterfall, which was BEAUTIFUL. We swam through the pool over to the waterfall and got to jump off of it. SO COOL. I definitely recommend that anyone who goes to Hawaii do this, it is such an incredible experience.

In all, I am so grateful that we were able to go on this trip and not only play beach volleyball in such an amazing place, but also that we were able to enjoy our spring break as well. Also, shout out to my parents who came to support me and also celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary!

Coming up we play at Grand Canyon University next weekend up in Phoenix against Nebraska and Grand Canyon. Look for my blog next week to fill you in on the weekend’s festivities!

Until then, BEARDOWN!

Madi Kingdon 

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