Student-Athlete Spotlight: Rachel Verhage
Rachel Verhage ’17 has experienced much success as a part of Trinity’s women’s volleyball program. In her four year career, the team has claimed two NCCAA National Championship titles and qualified for two NAIA National Championships, including a final site appearance in her freshman season. Rachel’s volleyball ability has been a pivotal part of the team’s success and her leadership on and off the court has greatly benefited the program.
Rachel’s career has not been without its road bumps as an injury sidelined her junior season before it began. She spent the fall of 2015 in countless hours of rehab and treatments and was not sure what her volleyball future would look like.
“Being out for so long with so much rehab and ground to make up was discouraging,” said Rachel. “Last spring I was cleared to play in a tournament and it was both a great feeling and really hard to adjust to. I saw how much I had lost and how much work I would have to put into my training during the summer to not only get stronger physically, but also mentally be able to trust my body to function properly.”
Through the trials and heartbreak of her junior year, Rachel learned how to adjust. One of those adjustments came this season when she moved to an outside hitting position for the first time in her college career. The mental strength that Rachel made off the court during her injury rehab helped her make the physical adjustments needed to change positions. Her flexibility and aptitude to adjust played an important role in Trolls’ success this past season.
The 2016 season truly was a storybook ending for the seniors on the volleyball team. “If you would have asked me at the beginning of my junior year what my senior year would look like, I would have never guessed that I would end my college career as an outside hitter on a team with my best friends who would win a national championship,” reflected Rachel. “I say it’s a pretty great way to make up for not having a junior season.”
The success on the volleyball court is only a part of Rachel’s story as she has excelled academically. She is a member of the Honors Program at Trinity, is on the Athletics Department High Honor Roll, and is a NAIA, NCCAA, and CCAC Scholar-Athlete. Rachel’s athletic and academic careers are to be celebrated as her graduation approaches.
Get to know Rachel better:
What is your major and minor? I am a biology major with a chemistry minor
Where is your hometown? Moses Lake, Washington
Why did you choose Trinity? I chose Trinity because I could be a part of the volleyball team and there is an excellent biology program here.
What is your favorite part about Trinity? The people I have been able to build relationships with. I have made a family for myself away from home.
What is your favorite athletics memory as a Troll? My favorite memory as a Troll would have to be the years we were able to go to the Christian national tournament both my sophomore and senior year. These were great opportunities to not only play at a high level, but also succeed with my team. I have so many great memories with my teammates and best friends from these tournaments.
What do you plan on doing after graduation? I will be getting married and attending medical school in the Fall of 2017.
What is your favorite pre-game ritual? We have different little mini games that we play before warm-ups start. They help me relax and just focus on volleyball and have fun.
What is your favorite Trinity tradition? My favorite Trinity tradition is maybe not quite an actual tradition, but by living in Tibstra Hall it seems like one. Every time there is a nice day I love that students will flood our “backyard” with sand volleyball, Frisbee, football, and all sorts of games and just enjoy living in community together.