Hahn to Train with USA Volleyball National Team
AMES, Iowa – Iowa State libero Kristen Hahn has been invited to train with USA Volleyball’s National Team. Hahn becomes the first Cyclone volleyball player to receive a chance to train with Team USA, the 2012 Olympic Silver Medalists.
“I got an email from USA head coach Karch Kiraly, and he said he wanted to talk to me,” Hahn said. “He called me yesterday (Wednesday) and he invited me to come out to California in May and June. I did my best to keep my calm, but I was really excited and had a lot of questions. It is pretty exciting, I am still in a bit of shock.”
Hahn, a three-time AVCA All-American and three-time Big 12 Libero of the Year during her playing career at Iowa State, traveled to Colorado Springs, Colo. back in February to take part in the WNT Tryout Event. Having previously been part of USA Volleyball’s A2 Program, Hahn was in familiar surroundings and knew what she needed to do to make herself stand out.
“I had a great tryout,” Hahn noted. “I felt it was my best tryout with USA Volleyball. My personality was able to show through and how I was able to connect with players and have a positive effect on the team.”
Among the people Hahn gave credit for helping her earn the call-up to Team USA was a former Iowa Hawkeye coach.
“I have kept in contact with my USA coach, Ruth Nelson, as a mentor and she has helped me preare for this moment,” Hahn stated. “She told me I needed to be ready mentally and realize that this is not a competition amongst others as much as it was a chance to prove my positive qualities. If I controlled what I did, the results would take care of themselves. I needed to continue to be a good teammate and work with different teammates to bring the best out of them, too.”
Her positive effect on the Iowa State program has been shown among the banners atop Hilton Coliseum and the awards Iowa State volleyball has received as Hahn has helped the Cyclones continue their streak of eight consecutive NCAA Volleyball Championship appearances.
“I have had really great role models at Iowa State,” Hahn said. “Christy (Johnson-Lynch) has always been an advocate for me, and has been among those who have always kept me in contact with USA Volleyball. She has always had a vision of where I was going to go in volleyball. The entire staff had helped shape me into a great volleyball player, pushing me and believeing in me. They have shaped me, not only as a volleyball player, but mentally and as a female athlete. I now know how to carry myself into the future and I owe them a great deal.”
Johnson-Lynch was also excited to hear the news.
“This is the first athlete we have had get invited into the program,” Johnson-Lynch said. “Kristen has worked very hard to create this opportunity for herself. She will do great out there, she is a great athlete and a terrific libero.
“Hopefully Hahn is the first of many,” Johnson-Lynch continued. “We have become known for the work we do with our liberos at Iowa State, and this is the kind of reinforcement to show the volleyball community what we can do to make players great at Iowa State.”
Before Hahn wears the red, white and blue, she has to wrap up her academic career in Ames. She is scheduled to graduate in May with her degree in kinesiology. After that, it is off to the world of professional volleyball.
“I think the hardest part was just getting my foot in the door,” Hahn concluded. “Now that I have this opportunity, I can continue my volleyball career. It will be a continuous learning process and USA Volleyball is the next step for me. I will use the opportunity to help shape myself into a better volleyball player and to prepare myself for international volleyball. My goal is to be a part of USA Volleyball for as long as I can.”
Hahn finished 2013 with 5.71 digs per set, the highest rate for a season in school history, her career digs per set mark of 5.17 dps is also an Iowa State record. She was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week five times in 2013 and 17 times in her career, a record for Big 12 volleyball. She finished her career with the most 20-dig matches (49) and 30-dig matches (8) in a career, Hahn also had the three highest single-season number of 20-dig matches. Hahn also finished her ISU tenure with 68 straight matches recording at least 10 digs, a streak that encompassed the entire 2012 and 2013 seasons.