One of the world’s best players in the 90s!
Who is Tara Cross Battle?
Wikipedia Says: Tara Cross-Battle (born September 16, 1968 in Houston, Texas) is a retired female volleyball player from the United States, who won the bronze medal with the USA National Women’s Team at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Cross-Battle competed in four Summer Olympics overall, starting in 1992, after having made her debut in 1990. She was named “Most Valuable Player” and “Best Scorer” at the FIVB World Grand Prix 1995, winning $30,000 in bonus money. Named “Most Valuable Player” at the 2001 NORCECA Championships she won the silver medal at the 2002 Women’s Volleyball World Championships, and suffered an injury to her right knee against Italy in the 2003 World Grand Prix in July, but recovered to make the World Cup roster three months later.
The Tara Cross-Battle Interview by Guille
Most memorable moment of your volleyball career?
Wow, I have a lot of memorable moments. It’s kind of hard to say which is the most memorable. There is winning the first NCAA Championship in the history of the Long Beach State’s Volleyball program my senior year (1989) is something I will never forget. And then, playing in my first Olympics, 1992 Barcelona Games and winning an Olympic bronze medal is very special as well. I was so blessed to have played for so many years that there are quite a few moments in my career that I will never forget.”
Favorite players (past and present) and why?
Some of my favorite players from other countries (other than USA) would have to be Mireya Luis and Magaly Carvajal. Even though the entire Cuban team was such I dynamic force, I loved playing and watching these two players.
I also loved playing with and against many Brazilian volleyball players, but there is one in particular that I loved watching and playing with and that was Fernanda Venturini. She was and probably still is an incredible setter. She was the first setter that I saw set a one handed slide to her middle that was perfect. I loved to watch the lefty, Motoko Obayashi from the Japanese team. She ran that lefty slide so beautifully.
There are too many American players that I loved playing with to even name. I loved playing with the majority of them. Of course, I loved to watch my idol and mentor when she played, Rita “The Rocket” Crockett. She is the one I wanted to be just like. And I loved watching Flo Hyman (pictured below) when she played. She was probably one of the tallest, if not the tallest Outside Hitter I had ever seen (back then).
Best players (past and present) and why?
Well, for me they are pretty much the same as the above mentioned, more so the past players. I might have to add Henriette Weersing (pictured below). She was a dominate force for the Netherland team. Before my time on the National team, I would say Rita Crockett because she was only 5’9” with an incredible vertical. She could get her shoulders above the net when she jumped and attacked. Debbie Green was probably one of the best setters. She would run that offense so smooth and she wasn’t the tallest of setters.
Paula Weishoff was amazing because she was so versatile. She could play Middle Blocker or Opposite (Right Side Hitter). She could play some amazing defense. She probably would have been an awesome Libero, if they had that position when she played. Caren Kemner was one of the most dynamic Opposites in the game during her prime. She had so much power behind her attack. Danielle Scott was probably one of the best Middle Blockers in her prime. Logan Tom is one of the best all around volleyball players to play the game. She is a very intelligent player. Stacy Sykora is an outstanding Libero. There are not too many that are better than her. Unfortunately, I have not taken the opportunity to watch a lot of the younger players that are playing now.
Who do you think should be on the USA Women’s Olympic Team for London in order for USA to win the gold?
I prefer not to answer this question. I really cannot answer this question far as name players. I would say that the team is going to need a good combination on veterans/leaders (players who have been there a couple of times) and some younger players with a lot of energy and excitement.
I know this is going to be difficult because there are so many of you guys but who would you put on the All time LBSU 1st Team?
Wow! That is difficult. Let’s see, how many are on the first team? Wow, you put me in a difficult position. I would say, in the setting position, Misty May and Sheri Sanders. I would put in the Middle Blocker position, Danielle Scott and Benishe Dillard. The OH/RS hitters, I would say, yours truly, Antoinette White, Tayyiba Haneef-Park and Brittany Hochevar. I don’t know who the Libero would be but with that team, you probably wouldn’t need a Libero .
Since we would like to provide a more personal insight (in a good way) to you as a person through these interviews/articles, the last question is what is the biggest challenge/hurdle you’ve faced and how you tackled/overcome it?
I would say the biggest hurdle that I faced, as an athlete, was when I hurt my back the spring of my freshman year in college. I had 2 bulging discs in my lower back. A doctor told me that I would need surgery or I would never play again. That was not the case, even though I got to the point of not being able to run or jump. It even hurt to walk at times. I was blessed to find out that I didn’t need surgery but I did need to slim down a little and do some physical therapy (i.e., strengthen my core, and legs to support my back). I was back on the court by the start of my sophomore year. That was a definite blessing.
God is GOOD!
Describe your life after volleyball. Are you still involved in the sport?
I am definitely still involved in the sport of volleyball. I train young female athletes between the ages of 12 and 18 in the Houston area. I run camps throughout the city of Houston as well as around the country. My life has not been without volleyball since I was 13 years old. What has been added to my life is being a mommy to 2 beautiful children. Lauren is almost 6 years old and is starting kindergarten this Fall (in a couple of weeks) and my little man, Marcus is going on 3 years old. So, God answered my prayers and blessed me with a girl and a boy. My family is complete. I am going on 21 years of marriage to my college sweetheart, Spencer Battle.
Anything else you want to share with your fans and the volleyball community?
I am loving life being a wife, mommy and coach. I have been a part of successful adventures with club volleyball out here in Houston. I love coaching/training the young athletes. I miss my teammates and wish I could be in better touch with a lot of them. I do keep in touch with a few. I want to thank all the people in the U.S., Brazil, Italy and everywhere else in the world for supporting me throughout my playing career. I really appreciate all the love I feel when I get messages on facebook and when I see people at tournaments.
WATCH THIS: Epic 1996 match between Tara & Team USA versus Cuba.
We’d like to thank Tara this amazing interview and of course to our dear friend Guille for taking time to make this possible.