Everyday Champion - Rachel Rourke
Sept. 1, 2009
Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! When senior Rachel Rourke tallies another kill, that cry can be heard throughout legendary Gill Coliseum. The 6-5 outside hitter has found the floor over 1,400 times over her three years at Oregon State and is currently on track to break the school career kills record. Add that to her garnering the program's first All-America accolade, and Rourke is easily the best offensive volleyball player in school history.
But her success on the court doesn't only define who she is. In the community, Rourke and the teammates have taken part in a number of events to help raise money for Dylan Cain, a local child that suffers from cerebral palsy.
Her plans after she finishes up the 2009-10 academic year include more volleyball. Rourke grew up playing on different levels of the Australian National Team, including a pair of experiences with the senior team that took her to Dubai and China. But without the help of both associate head coach Mark Barnard and a scholarship through the Beaver Athletic Student Fund (BASF), Rourke may have never ended up at Oregon State or college for that matter.
Continue reading more about Rachel Rourke below...
Talk about your experiences on the Australian National Teams.
Being on the Australian National Team has been a huge experience for me. I've played with the senior team a couple of times - once in Dubai and China. And I played with the junior and youth teams when I was younger. It's fantastic. I would have never been on a plane if it wasn't for volleyball. It's been great traveling to other countries and meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. It's something I've always wanted to do.
How did you come to Oregon State?
I came to Oregon State through assistant coach Mark Barnard. He used to be the Australian National Team coach and when I played for the state teams and the national team and things like that, he was my coach part of the time. He knew Terry and they recruited me when Mark came here.
How has a scholarship from the BASF helped you?
A scholarship through the BASF has helped me immensely. Being in Australia, I may not have gone to college - it wasn't at the top of the list. But through volleyball and the scholarship, it's going to help me get a degree by the end of the year.
What was the biggest change for you when moved from Australia?
The biggest change for me would probably be not having the warm Pacific Ocean by my doorstep. But other than that, Corvallis and my hometown are pretty similar.
You're 6-5 and taller than most of your competition. What advantage does that give you?
The advantage most people think I have is that I'm intimidating. But other than that, I'm not really sure. Volleyball wise I can reach higher than most people, but it's not a huge advantage.
Outside of volleyball, what do you like to do?
Outside of volleyball I like to sleep in my spare time. If it's sunny and warm outside, of course I like to be outside. I like to be in the water if I can and hang out with my friends.
What is your favorite thing about playing for Oregon State?
My favorite thing is just hanging out with my teammates and being with them off and on the court. They're great people and at practice every day they're fun to be around.
What's it like playing for Terry?
Playing for Terry has been a great experience. He's a very knowledgeable man, and he knows a lot of people. He cares about us as volleyball players and students, and he loves us.
Throughout your volleyball career, who has been your biggest role model or mentor?
Mark Barnard has probably been my biggest mentor just because he's been there for a lot of the time. He's helped me with a lot of my bigger decisions through volleyball, not only at Oregon State but before I came here. He and his family have been there the whole time.
What did it mean to you to be the first All-American in the program's history?
To be the first All-American was somewhat of a big deal. I'm still coming to grasp what it all is, but it's fantastic for the program and my team in general. It's good for all of us, not just me.
What would you tell a prospective student about Oregon State?
I would tell a prospective student that Oregon State is a fantastic place to come. It's beautiful both in the winter and summer and all the students here are fantastic.
Why will Oregon State volleyball be exciting to watch this season?
Oregon State volleyball will be exciting to watch this season because we're going to win some games and as a team we've gotten better, stronger, bigger. We're ready to get out there and kill the opponents.