Two weekends after he was born, Sam Sussenguth was already in the gymnasium at a basketball game. Some of the earliest memories Mary Sussenguth – Sam’s younger sister – has are rolling around a gym floor with volleyballs.

The Sussenguths were raised on athletics. Their mother, Val Swanson, was the longtime volleyball coach at Ridgewater College and also coached women’s basketball at the Willmar, Minn., junior college for a number of years.

“The most rewarding part is I was glad they liked it,” Swanson said. “They were around it all the time. We’re really lucky these kids liked sports. Otherwise, it would have been a long haul for them.”

Both Mary and Sam are nearing the conclusion of their college careers. Mary is a senior for the Minnesota State Moorhead volleyball team.

Read the rest of Eric Peterson’s story at