Beach volleyball champion transfers skills to SAIT Trojans squad

AthleteoftheMonthjThe SAIT Trojans women's volleyball team has acquired a versatile and adaptable player to its roster this season.

Rookie Kaila Blakeman boasts a competitive Irish dance career, a beach volleyball championship and an indoor volleyball scholarship to SAIT, and she's only 18 years old.

This is Blakeman's first year playing for a post-secondary athletic team, but her track record proves she is ready for the job.

Blakeman started her athletic career with Irish dance. She started when she was only three years old after some family influence.

"My mom took Irish dance classes when I was little, and I would sit on the sidelines and just watch her. I started to get tired of just watching and I wanted to take part," Blakeman said.

Blakeman competed in Irish Dance for eight years while also playing club volleyball before an injury forced her to change her focus to only one sport.

"I wrecked my ankle in Irish dance, which forced me to stop for a bit. I knew that volleyball would provide me with more opportunities in the future, so I decided to entirely change my focus onto volleyball."

Blakeman's mother also played volleyball and her father, Scott Blakenan, is a Trojans alumnus.AthleteoftheMonth2Rookie Kaila Blakeman, 18, plays left side for the SAIT Trojans volleyball team. Blakeman won the Canadian Beach Volleyball championship this past summer and her father is a SAIT Trojans alumnus.

Photo Courtsey of Andrew Crossett

He played hockey for the SAIT Trojan's from 1990 to1993, boasting a strong 78 points in 48 games.

"My dad loves that I am attending SAIT and playing for the Trojans. He comes to every one of my games," Blakeman said. "He knew it would provide me with a great education and opportunity to grow in my athletics."

Blakeman is currently taking exploration information technology at SAIT and plans to transfer into geophysics in the future.

She has also been playing beach volleyball at a competitive level for the past three years. She and her partner Jessica Brown won the Canadian Beach Volleyball National Championship this past summer in Vancouver.

Blakeman said she uses beach volleyball to stay fit and train during the indoor volleyball off-season.

"I love beach volleyball because it's a completely different energy than indoor volleyball, which makes it a lot of fun," she said. "It's just you and your partner with no substitutes, so it forces you to figure things out differently than indoor volleyball."

Blakeman's beach volleyball partner, Jessica Brown, now plays for the Grant Macewan University women's volleyball team. This creates a little bit of a friendly rivalry between the partners.

Blakeman said it's strictly business when the two face each other in league play.

"We joke around and get along well, but when we get on that court, it's on. No time to joke around."

The SAIT Trojans women's volleyball team is currently halfway through their season and will be fighting to win the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference championship in February 2014.

You can find more information about the team roster and schedule at www.saittrojans.com.

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