Alameda athlete Keira Rutten will be joining the Medicine Hat College Rattlers women's volleyball team this fall.
Rutten will be working towards a diploma in the area of occupational therapy and physical therapy while playing volleyball.
She explained that she was initially attracted to the specialized program and was offered the opportunity as a result of her outstanding athleticism.
"I didn't reach out to the college until January. Then, I decided that I wanted to play volleyball and made a highlight video. Within a few days, they told me I had a spot on the team," she told the Mercury.
Rutten has spent her high school career playing for Oxbow Prairie Horizons School’s Black Knights. In 2019, her team won the 3A provincial championship. Through winter and spring, she has played Black Knights Club Volleyball.
Although she did not get to play in her senior season in high school, she has continued to train regularly throughout the pandemic.
"We've been training twice a week since September, so I find that I am getting better as a volleyball player."
Rutten admitted that missing out on this season's competitive gameplay did present some challenges during the recruitment process.
"They couldn't see the player that I am today, but I had a good season last year, so it really helped."
Rutten's versatility as a player was also appealing to Medicine Hat College. They shared in the announcement of her signing that she will be playing on either the left or right side next season.
"I mainly play as a right side, but I've played as a left side, and this last year due to all the injuries we had, I stepped in the position to be a setter."
Rutten has been involved in numerous other competitive sports, such as softball, figure skating, and track and field. She believes that these experiences have benefited her as a volleyball player, both physically and mentally.
She feels that her competitive nature and tendency to be a team leader fuel her success.
"I find I take on a lot of leadership on the court. I like to be that leader and be in control a lot."
Rutten also gives credit to the quality coaching she has received throughout her career.
"Good coaching really helps. We've had a lot of commitment from our coaches," she expressed.
Rutten's high school coach and club coach, Riley Singleton, reflected on his experience of watching Rutten grow into a forceful, well-rounded player.
"She can play all positions on the court in all 6 rotations. She has become such a versatile athlete for us, and because of that, I know that is she is going to be a welcomed asset to Medicine Hat College in the fall."
Additionally, he pointed out Rutten's dynamic presence on the court.
"She is willing to hit the floor, play after play, with the utmost effort. She makes plays that other athletes can't. This fearlessness has helped to develop her into a great leader both on and off the court," he commented.
Rutten is also a trained developmental coach and is currently assisting with the Black Knights Club Volleyball 15U team.
"She's a fantastic role model for our younger athletes," Singleton said.
Rutten is looking forward to finally seeing the campus and meeting her teammates and coaches; these steps will only be the beginning of her exciting journey as a college athlete.