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“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”

-Ephesians 4:22-24

 

One of the top volleyball athletes in the country coming out of high school, Caroline Crawford has quickly made a name for herself as one of the best middle blockers in the sport. Since joining the Kansas Jayhawks, the school at which her father competed in track & field, she started all 22 games of her freshman year and was selected to be a part of the prestigious U20 USA Volleyball Training Team. As she has found loads of success on the court, it is her faith that has guided her throughout her journey.

A native to the state of Kansas, Caroline Crawford grew up around Jayhawk sports. She went to high school in Lansing, where she was named three-time 1st Team All Conference, three-time 1st Team All District, and Ranked No. 22 on PrepVolleyball Top Seniors. As she chose to join the Jayhawks for her collegiate career, she finished her freshman year with accolades that included being named an All-Big 12 First Team and All-Big 12 Rookie Team honoree. While she was growing on the court, Caroline says her freshman year was also significant in who she was away from the court as well.

Photo Courtesy of FIVB
“I’ve always been a believer, but I didn’t really dive deep into my faith until this past year, my freshman year of college.”

As Caroline has deepened her faith and spent more time growing in it, she says it has translated into how she goes about every opportunity around the game of volleyball.

“My faith influences my career by showing me that I’m not defined by volleyball, I just play volleyball. I’m defined by the person God created me to be in his image. That I play for something bigger and all the glory goes to God.”

Playing for something bigger has allowed Caroline to take pressure off herself and realize that regardless of the outcome, she has a purpose that is far beyond the game.

Earlier in the year, Caroline Crawford was selected to join a group of 12 athletes that represented the US in the 2021 FIVB Women’s Under-20 World Championships. Caroline says that experiences like these have been amazing and are deep reminders of why she plays the game.

“Being able to play volleyball at a high level creates a level of gratitude for my faith, knowing that I am able to do these things because of God.”

Photo Courtesy of FIVB
Caroline and the U20 team, which consisted of athletes from around the country, were able to travel to the Netherlands and Belgium to compete. Caroline says the opportunity to play the game and be around other talented athletes is one she will never forget.

Although Caroline has found a great deal of success on the court, her journey has not been without its trials and challenges. Caroline says that it is her faith that helps her deal with those trials and understand that there is a greater plan in store for it all.

“Throughout the season and life my faith helps keep me grounded knowing that when the tough moments arise I’m never alone.”

That mindset has equipped Caroline with confidence and drive every time she takes the court, looking to use her gifts as an opportunity to give back and inspire the community around her. Now nearing the season’s end and wrapping up her sophomore campaign, Caroline has already accomplished so much at the collegiate level. As she gears for the final stretch and whatever opportunities may await, she is grounded by her faith and reliant on God’s plan for it all.

 

Ethan Kruse

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