Name: Gertu Vider (aka Gigi) #11
Sport & Position: Volleyball, Middle Blocker
Year & Major: Sophomore, Graphic Design
Hometown: Tartu, Estonia
How to say hi or hello in Estonian: “We say ‘tere’ but if you want to be more formal then it’s ‘tervist’”
Favorite Estonian food: “Probably my grandma’s baked potatoes with ground beef and cooked onions”
Favorite American food: “Wingstop is pretty bomb, but that’s not the healthiest thing. I want to say that the best thing I’ve had here is Taylor Slover’s grandma’s cheesy potatoes” (Slover is one of Vider’s teammates)
Favorite movie: Any of the Star Wars movies
Favorite song: Current favorite song is “The Realest” by Issues
Favorite TV show: “The Flash” or “Empire”
For those who don’t know where Estonia is located, it is a country in Northeast Europe with a population of 1.3 million people. The official language is Estonian. It has over 2,000 islands, and it is about 50 percent forest.
Vider grew up in the city of Tartu, Estonia. She began playing volleyball when she was in 4th grade. She’s played for the Estonian Junior National team for about five or six years now, and she has competed with it in the World Championships and European Championships. In 2012, she won the beach volleyball championship in Estonia.
She first heard about Fresno State while playing the NBA 2K video games and seeing Paul George and where he went to college.
During the recruitment process, she communicated with coaches through Skype and talked a lot with assistant coach Sarah Chlebana. She was also recruited by Auburn, Texas A&M, Sacred Heart and Florida State, but what drew her to the Valley and commit to Fresno State were the people of Fresno. She felt she could relate to the different personalities and characters of the people she met.
Vider has her own YouTube channel “Gertu Vider.” Currently she has over 3,500 subscribers. She started the channel a week before her freshman year to show people back home where she was and what she was doing. She posted a vlog of her trip across the States from Yosemite to Florida, and she was surprised to see that she had 1,000 subscribers shortly after she posted that video. In May 2016, she decided to start speaking in her native language (Estonian) in her videos and soon after that, her subscribers jumped to 3,000.
To her, being a Bulldog means being tough. She said her coaches preach being Bulldog tough and that has resonated with her. Vider said she used to approach the game very carefully in order to prevent the chances of an injury. Being at Fresno State and playing alongside her teammates has helped her grow more aggressive on the court.
Head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell about Vider: “Whenever we have international student-athletes, they’re pretty tough kids. They come from so far away. They’re up for the adventure. They tend to be a little more adaptable than some of our kids who are even closeby. So we kind of like the kids with that kind of perspective. She adds an interesting dynamic to the team. She’s a real artist. On the court she’s a real steady player. She doesn’t make a lot of errors. She’s not as physical or dynamic as some of our other kids, but she’s a consistent, solid player.”