After a six-year volleyball career, senior setter Kendall Kraiss is graduating and saying goodbye to the competitive sport she fell in love with in high school.
“It’s weird to say I’m done playing college volleyball, I don’t feel like it’s over yet,” Kraiss said. “I already miss the playing and my teammates.”
Kraiss is planning to continue playing recreationally but realizes that it will not be to the competitive level that she once played in college.
“I can go and play beach volleyball and mess around at the gym but I will never be able to play college volleyball again,” Kraiss said.
However Kraiss was not always just about volleyball; her first love was track and field.
Although Kraiss will be leaving La Verne volleyball behind this semester she is eligible for another track season and plans on participating in the 2014 season.
During her senior year at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, Kraiss had never heard of her soon to be alma mater, the University of La Verne, until she had received a letter from track.
“I got here and asked, ‘Do they even have a volleyball team?’” Kraiss said. “I was a walk on with the team.”
During her time at La Verne, Kraiss received numerous awards in track and field and volleyball.
In track and field, she was All-Conference and came in third place in javelin last year. For volleyball, she made first team in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and made the All-Tournament team for regionals.
“She has always been very caring and positive,” junior teammate Morgan Donohue said. “She takes leadership.”
Not only was Kraiss an asset to her team but she was also an asset to our community.
She currently runs a games program at Roynon Elementary School in La Verne.
Everyday at lunchtime she goes to the school and sets up games and other physical activities for the children to participate in.
“It’s more so for the kids who don’t know what to do or feel like they can’t play with the other,” Kraiss said. “It gives them an outlet.”
Kraiss will be graduating a semester early and participating in winter commencement.
“She is very driven and determined,” Kraiss’ mother Kerry Kraiss said.
“She graduating early and it’s such a great achievement. I can’t even explain how proud am of her, it has been such a joy to raise her.”
After she graduates, Kraiss plans to continue the lunchtime program with Roynon and would like to start substituting. She would like to receive her credentials and her master’s from La Verne, teaching anywhere from fourth to eighth grade and ultimately end up in administration.
Although Kraiss has achieved awards and has shown how much of asset she is on and off the court, she believes that she would not be who she is today if it was not for her grandfather.
“My grandpa supports me in everything I do,” Kraiss said. “If he wasn’t in my life I would not be where I am.”
Kraiss will be graduating with a degree in liberal studies and looks to be returning back to the university for her credential program in fall 2013.
Taylor Perez-Graham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.