LOS ANGELES — Sabrina Degnan left Atascadero High School as one of the school’s most decorated and accomplished student-athletes and has only continued her to achieve things no one else can as she will soon leave Occidental College as one of their most decorated athletes as well. Degnan is the first and only 12-time varsity letterman to don the orange and grey playing volleyball, basketball and track and field and also took home Athlete of the Year and
“When I applied to college I actually had no intention of joining the track team,” Degnan said. “I came here for volleyball, but then after volleyball season was over I really missed playing a sport because in high school I played three sports. So when volleyball was over I realized that I would have a whole semester without anything athletic in my life and it was disappointing to me so I reached out to my track coaches with the encouragement of my dad... and they said that they would be happy to have me come out.”
Because volleyball is the lifeblood of the Degnan girls, Sabrina has been committed to volleyball and continued to practice during the spring often times having to negotiate with her coaches to see how much practice time she could miss. Even with the extra workouts and extra gym sessions Degnan’s commitment to academics never waivered.
“At the beginning, I was kind of worried because you go to college for an education and I always knew that the academics were going to be the most important thing for me,” Degnan said of balancing both athletics and academics. “But I think it is the type of personality that I have because I really like having a schedule and a regime and I actually kind of thrive with balancing sports and school because I know that I only have two hours before practice and still have to get a certain amount of work done.”
As a senior, she currently holds an accumulative 3.91 GPA in her psychology major and only needs to hold on a few more months to graduate as sigma cum laude.
Degnan’s volleyball days at Occidental have already passed as her senior season ended in the fall with her taking home the team MVP award. She has always been the ultimate team player and even switched positions in her senior year moving from the libero, a back row defensive player, to an outside hitter, a front row offensive player, bringing the heat due to the needs of the team.
She is one of the most well-rounded student-athletes that I have ever coached,” Occidental head volleyball coach Heather Collins said. “And has a tremendous attitude on an off the court and works so hard...Right away it was very evident that she just has everything together. She didn’t come in like a typical first year.”
While volleyball is her favorite sport, Degnan has dominated the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) in track and field as a thrower since her freshman season. She has earned All SCIAC in at least one event in each of her three years and currently holds two school records in the javelin and the weight, which is similar to the hammer
Over her career as a Tiger, Degnan has excelled at the javelin, an event that she picked up her first year in college because it is not offered at Atascadero High School. Traditionally volleyball players and baseball players can transition to the javelin and succeed due to the similar biomechanical movements of throwing a ball or swinging a serve. Degnan picked it up quickly, earning All SCIAC in her freshman year and each subsequent year. Not only has Degnan dominated in her conference, but she has also earned two trips to Nationals and holds the school’s all-time record at 147-0.
The former Greyhound also holds the Tigers’ fourth all-time mark in the discus at 122-3, fifth all-time mark in the shot put at 39-7 and third all-time in the weight at 157-5 which has become her new favorite.
“I have qualified for Nationals twice in the javelin but my goal for this year is actually to qualify for Nationals in the hammer,” Degnan said. “I would obviously like to qualify in both the javelin and the hammer but my main goal for this year is to make it in the hammer.”
Both of Sabrina’s parents, Tanya and Robert, threw the hammer in college and a friendly, family rivalry has helped lead to the interest in the hammer.
“My mom and I always joke that I want to beat her,” Degnan said. “Because her PR was 164 and right now I am at 162, so if I beat her mark that would make me qualify for Nationals.”
The Tigers are just in the early part of their track and field season but Degnan is already off to a tremendous start and will have plenty more chances to qualify for Nationals in both the javelin and the hammer in late May.
“Honestly my dream goal is to set the new school record here [in the hammer],” She claimed. “My coaches think I can do it, I think I can do it, I just need to put in the work and the effort.”
For updates on Degnan’s season or other North County alums make sure to follow sports editor Connor Allen (