Whether on the court or coaching from the sideline, senior Katie Kaysinger makes her presence known with her cheerful attitude and strong-willed determination.
As a setter for the volleyball team, Kaysinger has played a vital role for the Vikings and has helped the program blossom. Through her years at Portland State, she has seen the team struggle through adversity and several losing seasons. But she stuck with it, and was able to end her career on a good note, despite her season-ending concussion midway through the year.
“She was critical to the team,” head coach Jeff Mozzochi said. “She’s been a real key to this program. It’s hard to say; if Katie hadn’t gotten hurt, where we would have been. ”
Some student-athletes are athletes first, some are students first and then there are those who do both equally well. Kaysinger is a true student-athlete.
According to Mozzochi, school and athletics aren’t the only things Kaysinger is good at mixing.
“The thing I learned from Katie is that you can combine different types of leadership,” Mozzochi said. “You don’t always have to lead one way.”
Currently Kaysinger is working on becoming a graduate assistant for the volleyball team, which would allow her to develop her skills as a coach and provide some excellent experience for the younger players on the squad.
Simply put, “I like teaching volleyball,” Kaysinger said. “I like working with people that want to be there.”
After graduation, Kaysinger hopes to attend graduate school and continue her studies on nutrition.
The team as well as the coaching staff will have a hard time letting go of Kaysinger, but Mozzochi expects that she will go on to do great things later in life.
“She’s going to be very successful,” Mozzochi said. “It was a lot of fun; I really enjoyed working with her.”
Reflecting on her four years at Portland State, Kaysinger looks at graduation as “bittersweet.”
“I miss playing,” Kaysinger said. “You belong to something and then all of a sudden you don’t. Instead of, you’re a volleyball player, you’re just who you are. I’m just Katie.”
But she isn’t one to dwell on negatives. In fact, she is excited about graduating and is looking forward to pursuing other interests.
“It was a great time and I’m glad I had it,” Kaysinger said. “I can do other things now that I couldn’t do before.”