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Volleyball player Faith Rottinghaus finishes senior year strong

Faith Rottinghaus playing volleyball

(Faith Rottinghaus. Photo by Joy Smith)

From The Ichabod - Winter 2022
By Shayndel Jones

Kinesiology major and volleyball libero Faith Rottinghaus came to Washburn University because of its winning culture.

She knew the University had a great volleyball program, and she was excited when she received an offer to attend. Another perk for the Berryton, Kansas, native and Shawnee Heights High School graduate was it allowed her to be close to home and her family could attend every home game.

She wrapped up her time at Washburn University, graduating this December after the team finished second in the nation and played in the national championship match. It was the furthest the team had ever advanced in the NCAA tournament. Rottinghaus studied kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise science and rehabilitation and was heavily honored both as a student and an athlete. She was a four-time all-MIAA player, an All-American this year and a two-time Academic All-American. She won the NCAA Elite 90 award this year, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average competing at each national championship site.

Faith Rottinghaus playing volleyball

(Faith Rottinghaus [below, left] celebrates with her teammates during the 2021 NCAA national tournament in Tampa, Florida. Washburn finished second in the nation. Photo by Joy Smith)

She decided to pursue kinesiology as she found it most interesting after studying biology for a short time. She said while she still had to take some of those science classes, she only had to take the ones she needed instead of all of them.

“In kinesiology, the people and professors really care about you and your success,” she said. “They are very involved, especially in athletics, and they are very supportive.”

Rottinghaus became interested in volleyball at a young age, playing recreational volleyball until seventh grade then playing more competitive volleyball ever since. She played softball and basketball in grade school as well, but volleyball was the sport she had the most fun playing.

“I was able to laugh a lot and not put pressure on myself, which was a big draw for me when I came to college. I was able to enjoy it and have fun,” she said. “To be a college athlete, you need to have that. You have to love the sport you play.”

One of the team’s biggest achievements for Rottinghaus was making it to the NCAA national semifinal in 2018. She said that was a memorable year for the team.

“We really loved playing with each other and we really didn’t want it to end,” she said. “That was so much fun.”

She was excited about the current season and glad to have a lot of fun and play with the people she loves to be around every single day one last time. As she finished her senior year, Rottinghaus said it was bittersweet as she was recently accepted into the doctor of physical therapy program at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She encouraged her teammates to find something to play for each game.

“Remember you’re not guaranteed to play forever, so you have to take every single point, play as if it is your last point and support each other,” she said.

The Ichabod Magazine Winter 2022 cover - Memorial Union with snow, pine needles in the foreground

The Ichabod tells our story with features on alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, along with the latest campus news. View the current and past editions

 

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