USC Beach Volleyball's Julia Scoles Named CalHOPE Courage Award Winner
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – USC beach volleyball All-American Julia Scoles (Mooresville, N.C.) was named one of two inaugural winners of the CalHOPE Courage Award presented by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), in association with The Associated Press (AP) and CalHOPE, on Tuesday, March 1.
Scoles is one of two California college student-athletes to be chosen for the first award alongside Peter Andrews, a member of the Butte College baseball team.
This new award program recognizes inspiring student-athletes at California colleges and universities who have demonstrated courage in the face of adversity. CalHOPE is a crisis counseling and support resource for communities impacted by public health emergencies or natural disasters, operated by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).
Scoles and Andrews will be recognized on Thursday (March 10) at a virtual ceremony by the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Mental Well-Being. The event, hosted by First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, will be attended by the 16 council members, including CalHOPE Courage Award Ambassador Ronnie Lott and fellow California sports legends Cheryl Miller, Brandi Chastain, and Kristi Yamaguchi. Lott (football) and Miller (basketball) are each members of the USC Athletics Hall of Fame.
The CalHOPE Courage Award will honor two student-athletes monthly who fit the award criteria, which may include overcoming the stress, anxiety, and mental trauma associated with personal hardships, injury, or life circumstances, particularly during the COVID public health emergency. At the end of each academic year, two of the honorees will be selected as annual CalHOPE Courage Award winners, and a donation will be made in their names to go toward mental health services at their schools. Stories of all the honorees are available at CalHOPECourageAward.com and via social media on Twitter and Instagram at @CalHOPE_Courage.
"CalHOPE is honored to recognize student-athletes throughout the state like Julia and Peter who, despite setbacks, have overcome life's challenges to continue to perform their best as both scholars and athletes," said Dr. Jim Kooler, Behavioral Health Special Consultant for DHCS. "CalHOPE's purpose is to build community resiliency and help people recover from disasters through free outreach, crisis counseling, and support services. COVID-19 has increased the stress, anxiety, and isolation athletes have experienced, and highlighting Julia and Peter's stories of courage will inspire us all."
Scoles is a graduate student at USC's Marshall School of Business, pursuing a Master of Science degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. At the start of her sophomore year at the University of North Carolina in 2017, Scoles suffered three serious concussions that resulted in a myriad of health issues, including hyponatremia, vision problems, heart problems, spinal complications, and more. These post-concussion syndrome ailments and the accompanying mental trauma forced her to miss her sophomore season, retire from indoor volleyball, and transfer to the University of Hawai'i where she would play beach volleyball. She overcame those physical and mental obstacles to thrive on the sand, where she compiled an impressive 36-8 record, and in the classroom, where she completed her undergraduate degree. In the fall of 2020, Scoles transferred to USC, where she had to deal with the challenges of COVID-19 as she established a new life, practiced with her new team, and bonded with new teammates. Again, she adapted well, earning AVCA All-America honors and helping the Trojans win the 2021 NCAA championship. She uses her experiences with head injuries to educate others about the dangers associated with concussions in athletics and the mental health challenges associated with head injuries. Additionally, she shares her experience as a mentor with the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
"The concussions seemed to take everything from me. All I once knew about myself was stripped away. I lost my joyful personality and my identity as a student, an athlete, and a teammate. I was in the lowest emotional state," says Scoles. "Adversity is a teacher, but often we won't understand until we're on the other side. The lessons I learned from my injuries served me well when I transferred to USC during COVID-19. When the circumstances are outside of your control, you must focus on what you can control. For me, that was intentionally connecting with friends through technology, making sure I was doing home workouts every day, journaling, and making nutritious meals. When the world stops, you don't have to. Making a conscious effort to reframe the situation, find the silver lining, and make the best use of your time will not only serve you, but those around you. Our actions affect others, and I want to be a light to everyone I encounter. During a year pronounced by isolation, I chose to make the interactions we do have count."
Andrews joined the Butte College baseball team for the 2020-21 season following a tremendous career at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, Calif. His freshman year began as his father Stephen, a captain of the City of Chico Fire and Rescue Department, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Just a week before his first season ended, his father passed away at 53 due to complications from a brain tumor. In between, the 19-year-old Andrews battled through the stress and anxiety of his father's illness, plus several nagging injuries and the unusual circumstances of a COVID-shortened 26-game season. Still, he posted an impressive .303 batting average with 17 runs batted in (RBI) in just 66 at-bats for a squad that was ranked No. 2 in the state, won the 2021 Golden Valley Conference (GVC) Championship, and finished 23-3 overall. Andrews' season was capped by being named All-GVC Second Team as the team's starting right fielder. To fight through the mental trauma, he fully committed to family, school, and baseball. Andrews took 49.5 credits, nearly double the typical class load, and achieved a 3.66 grade point average. When not studying or tending to his family, he grinded in the batting cage, setting goals and pushing himself to overcome the challenges.
"It was the worst year overall, but it helped me. I experienced so many challenges that I wasn't prepared for, but I was able to work through each of the challenges step by step. Finding a way through the challenges has made me a stronger person today," said Andrews. "COVID-19 did allow me to see my father a lot more, but from a baseball perspective, we didn't get to have as much fun as we're having this year. With everything going on at home, more fun times with my teammates would have certainly helped me get through the tough times."
Sports information directors at all colleges and universities in California are encouraged to nominate deserving intercollegiate student-athletes through April 2023 at CalHOPECourageAward.com. The honorees will be selected by a panel of writers, editors, and sports information directors from CoSIDA and AP. Fans can learn more and engage on social media on Twitter and Instagram at @CalHOPE_Courage.
Scoles and the No. 1-ranked USC beach volleyball team (1-0) opened the 2022 campaign with a 5-0 sweep of 15th-ranked Long Beach State last Thursday (Feb. 24) and will play four duals this weekend (March 5-6) in the Battle For L.A. Invitational hosted jointly by USC and UCLA at Mapes Beach and Merle Norman Stadium,
For more information on the USC beach volleyball team, a complete schedule, and results, please visit USCTrojans.com/beach. Fans of the Women of Troy can follow the team on Instagram and on Twitter @USCBeach.
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CalHOPE is a multi-level campaign to connect people with vital mental health and wellness resources and information to help them find their way during these difficult times. CalHOPE is a federally supported effort (Federal Emergency Management Administration and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) that offers critical behavioral health crisis counseling programs to states and Tribes after a federal declaration of emergency. CalHOPE uses a public health approach that's focused on strength-based strategies of building resiliency and connecting people to the supports they need. CalHOPE resources may be accessed by calling the program's warm line at (833) 317-HOPE (4673) or by visiting www.calhope.org.
CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) was founded in 1957 and is a 3,000-plus member national organization comprised of the sports public relations, media relations, and communications/information professionals of all levels of collegiate athletics in the United States and Canada. The organization is the second oldest management association in intercollegiate athletics. For more than 60 years, CoSIDA has recognized student-athletes as part of its Academic All-America awards program. Approximately 5,000 student-athletes are recognized each year for their excellence in the classroom and in competition. To learn more, visit cosida.com.
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