Former Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year has High Hopes for Strong Senior Season
Sep 08, 2016 08:17AM ● Published by Kevin
Kersten Kober. Photo courtesy of Kansas State Athletics.
Gallery: Alumni Spotlight: Kersten Kober - Sept. 2016 [5 Images] Click any image to expand.
In 2015-16, Kober had a personal-best 500 digs and 12 aces. According to The Mercury of Manhattan, Kansas, she finished the season third in digs per set with 5.16 in Big 12-only matches and fourth in overall contests. She is the Big 12’s active leader in career digs.
"I’m just so thankful to have the opportunity to be here, to be around such great people and to get the opportunity to play with such great volleyball people," she said. "[I have] great teammates and coaches. None of that stuff would’ve been possible without the support of my team and the support of the university."
Starting off the season with a 4-2 record, the Wildcats have a tough schedule ahead of them; however, with Kober, three additional powerhouse seniors and a promising supporting cast, the team looks to capitalize on what has already accomplished. Two of the team's biggest victories came over Hawaii and Arizona.
"There’s a lot of really good things happening with this team," Kober said. "I think it’s a really good start for us. We talk about gaining momentum as we go. Starting off well and keep making progress and getting better."
The 5-foot-7 libero has registered a team-high 89 digs this year, as well as 25 assists and 2 aces.
Kober said she expects her Wildcats to do a lot of good things in 2016, including another tournament appearance.
"Of all my years, this team has such great potential," she said. "I have so much confidence in this team. I have a very positive outlook on what’s ahead for us."
Southlake Style: It's your senior year and you are preparing for bigger and better things. Reflect on these past three-plus years at Kansas State.
Kersten Kober: It’s an experience that’s flown by so fast. It’s given me so many opportunities. I tell people all the time, coming to K-State was the best decision of my life. I've made friends I’ll have forever. I've been impacted by my coaches and the staff here … It’s certainly an experience I’ll never forget. There's just something so valuable, I can’t really even explain it, but it’s been the best time of my life, for sure.
SS: What are your aspirations for after college?
Kober: I am planning on going to law school. I want to be a sports and entertainment attorney. My dad’s an attorney. Ever since I was little, I always dreamed of following in the same footsteps. Athletics have had such an impact on my life. It’s not something I’m ready to give up yet. I want to surround myself with athletics for as long as I can.
SS: What are you trying to instill in the young kids on the team?
Kober: Just good values overall is something. Good leadership. I’ve had the opportunity to grow in my leadership. I really try to tell the freshmen that they can have an impact early on the team. It’s important to be who you are. The sooner you show who you are, the sooner everyone will know what to expect from you. You can have an impact earlier. We talk a lot at K-State that we have to work hard. We’re not the biggest or the strongest, so the work we have is productive. We take it very seriously and that’s something I try to instill in the freshmen when they get here.
SS: You had a long career at Carroll. You were the first freshman in team history to participate in a varsity playoff match. How did all of that experience help you in the long term?
Kober: At Carroll, there’s a lot of competition. The biggest thing I took away from my high school experience is how to compete and how to work the way that prepares you to compete with others. At Southlake, the biggest thing everyone talks about is competition. Going through that experience prepared me well for the future, in volleyball and as a person. I know what to expect and how to best prepare myself for whatever situations arise. I definitely, throughout that, have very high standards. I’m very competitive and am willing to work hard enough to get what I want for the most part.
SS: What led to your decision to go to K-State?
Kober: I knew I wanted to play college volleyball. My dad graduated from K-State. I have a lot of family here in Kansas. I knew I wanted to get away form home and knew I wanted to be in the Midwest. When I came on my visit here, I fell in love with this athletics department and this university. The first time I stepped foot on campus, it felt like home. A lot of people at K-State talk about the people and how great the people are, and that’s a major part of the reason I came here.
SS: Is being far from home an inconvenience? What do you miss most about home?
Kober: I miss the good Mexican food from back home. Not going to lie. I think getting away from home made me grow up a lot. It’s a different part of the world. It’s not an inconvenience to me. It’s not too far form home. I can fly or drive home if I need to. I love it here in Kansas. I don’t find it to be an inconvenience.
SS: You've got a little brother who is pretty talented at his chosen sport. Talk about your relationship with him and how you two play off of each other when it comes to sports.
Kober: I think we both grew up in a family that was very sports related. My brother and I have been playing sports together since we were very young. We were both competitive people so we would compete with each other. We both learned how to work hard together and work in productive ways. He’s very mindful. He works extremely hard. He values every rep in everything he’s doing. That’s something I’ve learned from him.
Previously, I’d been someone who goes with the flow, but I learned from him to be more mindful. It’s been fun to relate our careers in the same way. We go through the ups and downs together and can discuss what it means to be an athlete. We’re there to support each other. We both know we’re each other’s biggest fans.
SS: It seems as though keeping in touch with academics is very important to you. Talk about the balance between school and sports.
Kober: It’s hard to balance wanting to be a premiere athlete and wanting to do well at school. The biggest thing for me is time management – knowing what my priorities are, sitting down and scheduling out when I need to be doing certain things. Those are two things that I put high on my priority list.
SS: Name one or two of the biggest influencers in your life.
Kober: I would say both of my parents for sure. They have been my support system since day one. They raised me and they pretty much taught me everything I know. My brother as well. Even though he’s my little brother, I look up to him a lot. He works so hard and has got his head on straight. He’s a good person to have in my back pocket.
SS: A word to the folks back home.
Kober: I love them and appreciate all of the support they’ve given me throughout the years.
Courtesy of K-State Athletics:
- Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week (Oct. 5, 2015)
- Saluki Invitational Best Libero (2014)
- Saluki Invitational All-Tournament Team (2014)
- UNLV Invitational All-Tournament Team (2013)
- Big 12 Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year (2015)
- Academic All-District 7 First Team (2015)
- Two-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team (2014-15)
- Big 12 Academic All-Rookie Team (2013-14)
- Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll (Fall 2015)
- Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll (Spring 2015)
- Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll (Fall 2014)
- Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll (Spring 2014)
- Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll (Fall 2013)
- Enters 2016 second among active Big 12 players in career digs
- Eighth in K-State history with 1,126 career digs
Officially signing to play golf for the Waco-based University in November, Carroll golf star Colin Kober talks about his career and what lies ahead. Read More »