KELOWNA – Katinka Krahn of Oslo, Norway has chosen to pursue an indoor volleyball career with the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s team this fall as the squad lays eyes on the CIS national championships in the spring.
Highly recruited in both Canada and in the United States, the beach-preferring Krahn was very close to choosing a beach program south of the border, but admitted that an eleventh-hour e-mail and subsequent call from her new coach Steve Manuel ultimately convinced her to stay on the hardwood and take her talents to the sand of the Okanagan.
At 5-11 in height with a multi-position toolkit as an outside and middle, Manuel sees a lot of ways to use Krahn in the system.
“The fact that Katinka has experience playing both on the outside and in the middle is an added bonus for us moving forward,” coach said. “We see her playing a large role for us in the near future and we are excited to see how she will progress over the long haul with us.”
Krahn travels west with an impressive resume. She won the bronze medal this past season at the 2015 National indoor championships with her club team Koll Volley in the Mizuno league, and has built ties with the senior national team in Norway after competing in the European Championships U22 in Turkey.
Out on the sand, Krahn is competing in the Norwegian tour this summer, as well as a slew of international tournaments. However, despite a high level of experience and accolades earned in her home country, she expects the transition to university competition in Canada to be steep.
“The highest league in Norway, which I compete in, is not as good as the Canada West conference,” she remarked of the hyper competitive west in the Great White North.
Krahn already has strong family connections in the CIS, with cousins playing volleyball at Brandon, Winnipeg, and Western Ontario. The daughter of a Canadian father and a Norwegian mother, she grew up in Norway and is relatively new to competitive volleyball.
“Volleyball isn’t a very popular sport in Norway,” Krahn said of her choice in sport when she first picked up the paneled leather ball. “I had never … been good at soccer or other ball sports in PE at school.” It was not until she visited family in Winnipeg five years ago and was peppering on the beach that she found an interest and knack for a ball sport.
Since then, an exceptional work ethic has allowed her to work and rise to the top of her age group in Norway. “Because I started late playing volleyball, I’ve always had to chase others,” she continued. “But from where I stand today I can see that I’ve managed to catch up with and pass many of my teammates and competitors because of my hard work ethic. So I feel as prepared as I can be to play for a top Canada West squad.”
“We are extremely happy to see Katinka join our program—she will add another physical dimension to our squad and her strong work ethic will fit well in our team’s culture,” Manuel concluded.
Krahn intends to enroll in UBC Okanagan’s distinguished engineering program, and has aspirations to pursue work in support of her father’s NGO Solid Earth Africa, which focuses on building sustainable houses in Ethiopia. However, she admits to wanting to keep her options open, as she has also pondered careers such as tournament manager and secondary school teacher.