The top men's and women's professional players in the world will be playing at Krieg Fields in southeast Austin in the Austin Open. The tournament will be held May 6-8, with the competition running from about 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
Jeremy Casebeer, AKA the Lorax, is one of the players that will be competing. He was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California, and went to UCLA where he played indoor volleyball and majored in Environmental Studies and Political Science.
Casebeer delayed a career in sustainability to play beach volleyball in the US on the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP), around the world on the International Federation of Volleyball (FIVB) and in Brasil on their pro tour (CBV).
But that doesn't mean Casebeer has left his passion for sustainability behind. He's a Climate Responsible Athlete, a contributor with Parley for the Oceans, and an ambassador for the Forest Stewardship Council. He's also the Program Chair for non-profit AVP First, and a board member of Players for the Planet.
Another player competing is Sarah Sponcil. Sponcil is from Phoenix and also started her career playing indoor volleyball.
In high school, she earned three state titles and was named Arizona Gatorade Player of the Year twice.
Sponcil went to Loyola Marymount University and competed in both indoor and beach before transferring to UCLA in 2018. She helped the Bruins win their first Beach National Title in 2018 and another in 2019.
While still in college, Sponcil began playing on the AVP Tour and got 2nd place in one of her first tournaments, which was the Austin stop.
Sponcil is also an Olympian, having competed in the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.