Westmont Magazine Weekend Warriors
Patti Scofield Cook ’04 doesn’t expect to get rich as a professional volleyball player, but she does expect to get better. “I’m a very competitive person,” she says. “That’s what drives me. I want to use the gift God has given me to the utmost and see how good I can get.”
Her goal is to rank among the top 10 players on the AVP (American Volleyball Professionals) tour. She also looks toward the 2012 Olympics.
In April, she and Jill Changaris won an AVPNext tournament in Ventura. They got a $600 check and a wild card spot in the main draw of the AVP Santa Barbara Open in May, where they finished 17th and took home $800. Patti is winning points and working her way up.
She started on the AVP Tour as soon as she graduated from Westmont. Last year, McMahon Group sponsored her, but this summer she is paying her own way to the tournaments. Fortunately, Patti’s husband, Matt Cook ’02 supports her dreams. An economics and business major at Westmont, he works as a financial planner for Mercer Global Advisors — and plays volleyball recreationally.
Patti, a three-time All-American, started for the Warriors and holds four career records as well as season and game records. She made the NAIA All-Tournament Team in 2002 and was named an All-American Scholar Athlete in 2002 and 2003. Even so, switching to sand wasn’t easy.
“Getting used to the sand was a challenge,” she says. “It takes a lot more energy and well developed muscles.” Now she’s a weekend warrior, hitting the beach early in the morning. “I play hardest in practice, I play my heart out so the games come easy,” she says. She takes advantage of every spare moment she isn’t waiting on tables or working for the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club, which fields teams for girls ages 9-12.
Patti majored in computer science at Westmont.“I wanted to do more than play volleyball,” she says. “I like to talk to people more than computers, so maybe I’ll go into computer sales some day,” she laughs. Professor Kim Kihlstrom mentored her, meeting with her once a week.
“Going to Westmont made me well-rounded,” Patti says. “I wasn’t just an athlete, and I wasn’t just a face in the crowd — I loved the small classes. Coach Smoot said academics came first; he taught us priorities.”
Why does Patti have a passion for volleyball? “I love the combination of precision, grace and power,” she says. ”You can’t just be strong — you have to have athleticism as well.” And be driven to practice hard.