It’s been a busy summer for Ana Bleeker. Bleeker, an outside hitter for the OTVA 13 South Rox Red club volleyball team, helped her team win two national championships — one at AAU Nationals at Disney and the other at USA Volleyball Girls Junior Nationals in Minnesota.
She also was named to the all-tournament team at the AAU event. Bleeker will be an eighth-grader this fall at Bridgewater Middle, where she and her teammates will try to win the school’s fourth consecutive county championship in volleyball.
What was it like to be part of a team that won two national championships?
It was the best feeling. My teams before, they were good teams, but we never had the ending in us to pull out a big win. So to finally get a big, strong team — it was kind of like the dream team that we created this year — it was amazing. It was so fun to play with them.
Do you enjoy going to these national tournaments and facing the top competition in the country?
Yes — I love playing new teams and seeing new competition.
What do you like about playing middle-school volleyball for Bridgewater and then what do you like about playing club volleyball for OTVA?
For middle school, I like getting to see the younger girls with the older girls and how it all mixes togethers. I like getting a good school experience, where you’re not just in your own little age group in your own grade. … In travel, I like traveling, and I like the hard competition — I’m always challenging myself to do better.
What’s the coolest place you’ve traveled to for volleyball?
San Juan, Puerto Rico, in April. We went to the old San Juan forts and we got to take a lot of pictures and got to go around the fort.
You switched from focusing on gymnastics to focusing on volleyball. What was the reasoning behind the switch?
It’s a team sport. It’s not like all individual and all the pressure is on you to do well.
Your mom, Katiane Bleeker, played, coached and recruited for volleyball at the collegiate level. What’s been the best piece of advice she has given you about the game?
She taught me to believe in yourself — don’t doubt in yourself. Because when you doubt, that’s when stuff starts to go wrong. When you believe in yourself, that’s when you start to do better.
What’s your favorite subject in school?
Language arts — I love writing. I like to do research papers, sometimes, or I liked what I did for the FSA writing portion. I put a lot of effort to do well into that one.
What do you think you’d like to do for a career?
I want to be a photojournalist, because I like taking pictures and writing. Or, I’d like to be an interior designer or an architect.
What are some things you like to do with your down time?
I like going on bike rides. … I also like to go to the beach and surf.
What are your favorite television shows?
I like “Pretty Little Liars,” “Riverdale” and “Supergirl.”
Of those shows, which has your favorite character?
In “Pretty Little Liars,” I like Aria, because she’s ambitious — she’s strong and she’s fun.