Lake local takes a spike at national team

Erin Perkins
By Erin Perkins
May 22nd, 2012

Volleyball is as much apart of Ashley Christman as her arms and her legs. It also helps that she’s built for the sport, standing at six feet tall (1.83 meters), can jump touch 10′ 3″ ( 3.12 meters), spin serve at 85 kilometers (kms) an hour and spike at 90 kms an hour.

She’s been playing the game since she was a small child and her passion for the sport has not dwindled.

“I love everything about volleyball,” said Christman, now 19-years-old and going into her third year of university in the fall. “I love the feeling I get when I make a really good spike or block with the group (of team members) all around me.”

Literally at the top of her beloved game, Christman is spending this week, Sunday, May 20 to Friday, May 25 at the Canadian National Women’s Volleyball Training Facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba for the 2012 Open Selection Camp. While there she will compete against 54 of Canada’s best women volleyball players for a chance to be one of the top 24 players to play on one of two national teams.

The “A” team will try to win a spot in the 2014 World Championships followed by the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The “B” team will represent Canada in the World Universiade Games (FISU) in Russia in 2013.

Christman currently attends the University of Idaho with a full athletic scholarship. She plays in the United States National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 while also studying fitness sciences. Her team, the Idaho Vandals, compete in the Western Athletic Conference.

She is naturally nervous about the selection camp, but is confident the training she undertakes at the University of Idaho with the Idaho Vandals as an outside hitter will pay off.

There she trains five days a week for three hours a day. They do a lot of weight lifting with specific focus on the legs to develop the “explosive power” needed in volleyball, said Christman. They also work on increasing flexibility.

If picked at the selection camp, Christman will spend the summer training alongside the senior volleyball national team set to go to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.

Volleyball is a family affair. Ashley, her older brother Tyler and younger brother Myles all play the sport, which they honed in the backyard of their Christina Lake home with dad, Martin Christman.

“Dad always had us out in the yard playing (volleyball),” said Christman. “We’d practice out in the front yard.”

While she has plenty of role models at home, Christman considers Gord Perrin an inspiration. Perrin played with her older brother, Tyler, at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. Perrin also played for team Canada and is now a professional volleyball player in Turkey.

The generous contributions of $1,000 from the Christina Lake Firefighters and $350 from the Regional District Kootenay Boundary area C grant-in-aid program is making it possible for Christman to have a shot at the national team in Winnipeg.

The Christina Lake Firefighters have supported Christman since she was 15 years-old through her many volleyball adventures and she could not have achieved this without their backing over the years

Categories: GeneralSports