Grace Cleveland

Women's Volleyball Audrey Westcott

#WelcometoGraceland

WEST LAFAYATTE - With the season well underway, it is time to get to know your 2018 student-athletes! Today, learn all about freshman Grace Cleveland.

Cleveland is a product of Bloomington, Illinois, who has become a fixture in the Purdue starting lineup. Starting all 15 matches for the Boilermakers this season, the rookie has recorded 130 kills and is second on the team with 43 total blocks, including a team-best 13 solo blocks.

#WelcometoGraceland

Who is Grace Cleveland?
GC: Grace Cleveland is a goofy girl, who loves to sing, dance and just have fun.

At what age did you begin playing volleyball? 
GC: I started playing volleyball in the sixth grade, so I was probably 12 when I first started club volleyball.

Why did you start playing volleyball?
GC: I really started playing because of my cousin Hallie. I basically did whatever she was doing, so I brought it up to my mom that [Hallie] was playing volleyball and I should play volleyball. So I gave it a shot and ended up loving it."

What is your earliest memory of volleyball? 
GC: I would say it's a memory from the seventh grade. I went up and I blocked a serve, which is illegal, but I was like 'oh my gosh, I got my first block.' It's still funny.

Who is your inspiration in volleyball and why? 
GC:
Honestly, I would just say my teammates.  Just on any team that I have, they are really the ones who get me fired up and that is why I love the sport. It is a team sport and that's what makes it so much fun. To be able to play with my teammates, I can honestly say they are some of the best friends I have ever made."

Who is your inspiration in life and why? 
GC: I would say my parents. My dad really works hard and my mom played overseas and she coaches, so be able to follow in her footsteps would be awesome.

Which family member has made the biggest impact on your life and why?
GC:
I have a really big family. Really my grandparents, aunts and uncles, everyone has just always been so supportive and I am just so grateful. Just being able to go to all my cousins' sports games and my grandparents always coming to my games has just made playing so much fun. We're so supportive of each other and I am proud to a part of my family.

What is your life motto?
GC: To dream. I am someone who thinks about the future all the time, so I think dreaming big is very important.

What attracted you to come play at Purdue?
GC: So it's in the Big Ten. I knew I wanted to play in the Big Ten and then I came for my visit and I just knew right away. Purdue was my very first visit my freshman year and my mom and I always joke that I literally could have committed that night, because I just knew. I like the coaches, they're such a family and it's two and half hours from home, so not too far, just close enough.

We're a few weeks into the season, how would you rate your performance?
GC: I would rate my performance as pretty stable. I don't think I've peaked a lot or been too low, just average which I am ok with for now. I do want to improve a little bit each and every game and just focus on getting better.

Fans have started to use #WelcometoGraceland, when talking about your performance, what are your thoughts on that?
GC: In high school I did get some attention from the newspapers, but I didn't know that was happening here. I just want to be a player that people can look at and think 'she's working hard and she loves her teammates.'

How do you want to be remembered as a Purdue volleyball player?
GC: As someone who is a good teammate and is fun to watch.

What is your major and why did you select that path?
GC: I am in retail management and I picked that major because I've always wanted to be in fashion merchandising. I've always loved fashion and I'd like to work on the business side of that, potentially as a buyer or work for a magazine.

Where did your interest in fashion come from?
GC: I would say my grandma on my Dad's side. She's pretty fashionable so maybe from her.

What's the best fashion advice your grandma has given you?
GC: I can't say she's given me specific advice, but she does wear a lot of jewelry, is always put together and I think I have picked up on that a little bit.

What is your favorite sense of style?
GC:I love street-wear style, so kind of like Gigi Haddid and Blake Lively.

What are the five things you can't live without?
GC: My bed, friends, family, clothes….actually I am going to narrow them down. The top five things I can't live without are: my friend Moe [Marissa Hornung] and all my friends, my Kate Spade purse, family, Netflix and my bed.

If someone was to write a book about you, what would the title be and why?
GC: It would probably be 'What the Future Holds' because my whole life people have always focused on what I was going to do next and that's something I never want to lose. I don't want to be settling. I always want to look for how to improve myself.  
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