Class of 2006Active: 1990 - 2000
38 Open Victories
Nancy Reno began playing beach volleyball in 1990 at age 25, while a member of the US National Team and following a successful collegiate career at Stanford University. Her first foray on the beach court was to help friends and established beach players Liz Masakayan and Angela Rock train at Mission Beach in San Diego.
Although she recalls being "terrible" on the beach when she first started out, Reno's dedication to the game led to her first Open win just two years later with partner Janice Opalinski. "I became obsessed with being a top player, and with the notion of winning, so I came a long way in a short amount of time," she recalls.
Reno rose through the ranks of women beach volleyball greats to win an impressive 38 domestic and international tournaments throughout her career. She also played in the inaugural women's beach volleyball event at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, finishing fifth with partner Holly McPeak.
It was with partner and longtime friend Karolyn Kirby that Reno found her groove, describing their style of play more reminiscent of the men's game: hand setting with an offense, powerful jump serving and hitting the ball hard "like two big warriors."
Although her home beach is San Diego, Reno said her favorite tournament win was in Chicago–where she was raised and where her family still lives. But playing anywhere still evokes the freedom she discovered when moving from indoors to the beach. "The beach game was so much more expansive than the indoor game," she says. "And so much harder to master."