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Dedication to training, lifestyle habits emerge as goals for life’s dream

To athletes, the human body is a machine. And like machines, the body needs fuel in order to provide high performance and energy. For Brooke Nuneviller, a Tempe native and Corona del Sol alumna, she prioritized her cooking and nutrition as much as her training to help her excel from high school to college and now at the professional level.

Nuneviller played under Aztec volleyball coach Ben Maxfield all four years at Corona, winning the 6A state title in 2016 while finishing runners-up in 2017 and 2018. Her stardom brought her to Oregon, where she played from 2018-2022 and better established her game. Pursuing a professional volleyball career, she played for Nilüfer Belediyespor in Turkey before returning to the states and joining the Omaha Supernovas of the Pro Volleyball Federation. Now, she has the opportunity to work toward her life goal of making the Olympic roster.

In high school, Brooke was “top of the top,” as Maxfield puts it. She played a pivotal role as both libero and outside hitter, but it wasn’t until college when her diet and production surged.

Brooke Nuneviller (left and Corona women’s volleyball coach Ben Maxfield in Eugene, Or., home of the Ducks. Photo courtesy of the Nunevillers.

“My junior year when I started to really excel, I really began to pay attention to what foods influenced my body and how I’m eating is affecting my performance,” Nuneviller said. “So, I wanted to make a change. I wanted to get more in shape. I want to become more physical and I think food and what you’re consuming really plays a big role in that.”

Part of the discipline comes from healthier alternatives to restaurants or fast food, which Brooke said she opened up more to through experiments in the kitchen. “If I was craving something I tried to make a healthier version at home. And I think right through those experiments I really started to enjoy the process of cooking and how it’s really affecting my sport and now my career.”

Brooke’s fridge is chock full of juices, from beet to cherry, with green juices and coconut water along with protein and a plethora of fruits and vegetables. She also loves sparkling water and is an avid coffee drinker, with “like 800 coffee creamers.” And while her diet played a role in her ascent to becoming a pro, Maxfield says it’s also her “God given ability.”

“[It’s that] innate ability that she has coupled with her just desiring her work ethic that makes her incredible player,” he said. “When we needed a kill, we knew we could go to her and she’s super smart with everything. She knew where she put the ball and she wasn’t all about power. You know, she had that finesse.”

Maxfield said he knew the type of athlete Brooke was before coming to Corona, having played years of club volleyball and for the USA Youth National team. But “by the time she was probably a sophomore, she probably knew more than I did,” he said laughing. While both of Brooke’s parents played volleyball, Beth, who played and coached for Arkansas State and is currently the college recruitment director for Aspire Club, has been a major influence in her life. Not to mention the similar traits that Beth handed down, including her tenacity on the court.

Brooke digging a ball during with Team USA during a match over summer. Photo courtesy of the Nunevillers.

“She’s always she’s always been very vocal, and she’s always been very aggressive. And that’s just a personality trait of hers. Me, as a player, I was kind of the same way,” mom Nuneviller said. Brooke has already accomplished so much in her young career, and says she feels she has nothing left to prove. But one thing she has always dreamt of is the Olympics, she says.. With her goal of making the 2028 Olympics hosted in Los Angeles, Brooke says that would be a dream come true.

But just like a dream, the road to success is rocky. Being an 5-foot-11 undersized outside or oversized libero, Brooke appears to be in a tricky spot, but that, she says, won’t deter her.

“I think if I continued to excel as an outside hitter, then maybe my opportunities would expand on that roster. I think like the more versatile you can be the better off you are.” Playing libero and outside in high school, Brooke transitioned to full time outside in Eugene – the position she says she prefers most.

“You’re involved in so many different aspects of the game – as a libero, you’re passing and you’re defending. As an outside you get to do that; then you also get to hit, you get to block and you get to serve. I just like contributing. I like being able to point score and I think I just I have more fun, and the way I play outside I enjoy more…than I would as a libero.”

Brooke tipping a set over the net in a match with team USA. Photo courtesy of the Nunevillers.

Maxfield said he has no question as to Brooke’s capabilities to earn an Olympic roster spot. Her mom says she also has confidence, but it depends how the pre-existing roster of veterans plays out. “I’m going to try to compete as high the level as possible,” Brooke said. “And I think that the Olympic roster is kind of the end goal for that. “I think if you want to make a roster like that, it needs to be that you’re putting everything you have into it.”

From becoming state champion and the unquestioned leader of Corona’s girls’ team— to star power for the Oregon Ducks—to playing abroad professionally and demonstrating a career out of her dedication, Brooke Nuneviller seems already to be serving a successful career out of it.