News>Feature - 10 things you didn't know about: Cadet 1st Class Caroline Kurtz
Air Force's Caroline Kurtz bumps the ball during the second set of their season opener against Long Island, Aug. 27, 2010, at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Falcons won 3-2 over Long Island with scores of 25-14, 22-25, 29-31, 25-19 and 15-9. (Air Force photo/J. Rachel Spencer)
Caroline Kurtz celebrates the Falcons' winning their season opener against Long Island College Aug.27, 2010, at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Kurtz contributed 20 kills during the match, leading the Falcons. The Falcons won 3-2 over Long Island with scores of 25-14, 22-25, 29-31, 25-19 and 15-9. (U.S. Air Force photo/J. Rachel Spencer)
by Leslie Finstein
U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs
11/23/2010 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Cadet 1st Class Caroline Kurtz plays for the Air Force Women's Volleyball team. She has been the Academy's athlete of the week twice this semester, and in October she was named a Mountain West Conference athlete of the week.
Air Force Volleyball is 1-13 on the season with two matches remaining. They play their last home match against UNLV Nov. 26 at 7 p.m.
1. When did you start playing volleyball? Who got you started?
I began playing volleyball in sixth grade purely to make friends. I had just moved from a public to a private school, and a daughter of an acquaintance of my mother was on the team. I had absolutely no knowledge of the game nor did I know if I would even like it, it was purely a survival tactic!
2. Favorite sports to play off-season?
When it is warm outside, I like to play softball. My first sport and favorite sport up to high school was softball, and I still enjoy picking up a game of homerun derby or going to the batting cage. Winter, however, is a different ballgame -- skiing is where the excitement is at.
3. Favorite professional athlete and team?
Growing up in New Mexico (with no major professional teams of any kind), I did not grow up with any favorite professional team. The closest to professional that we as a family followed was college basketball from my dad's hometown -- the Kentucky Wildcats. I don't have a favorite athlete either. I guess in never pay much attention to individual players, I just watch the game.
4. Favorite movie or TV show?
Movies are one of my weaknesses: the list of favorites could go on and on. I think it will be less painful if I list my favorite TV shows: Castle, White Collar, Modern Family, Cougar Town, Bones, The Gates, Glee, Psych, Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl. I know, you are probably thinking how on earth it is humanly possible to watch all these and still survive at the Academy. I still have not found the answer to that question, but it is possible.
5. Favorite food?
Italian and Mexican food, plus sushi, are my favorite types of food. My mother's green chili chicken stew is probably my favorite New Mexican dish and any type of Italian pasta or pizza (especially pizza that I ate in Italy) is something that never gets old. Of course, comfort food is a whole different category: tomato soup (a certain kind from Whole Foods) and artisan grilled cheese. And, if you knew me well, you would know that I always have a secret stash of chocolate around.
6. Favorite subject in school?
I am an engineer and behavioral scientist by trade (my major is System Engineering Human Systems), but the one class that I have enjoyed above all else in high school or college was my AP Art History Class my senior year of high school. Although completely irrelevant to anything I will do in the future, I left that class with a complete knowledge of architecture and art that came in handy in my visits to England and Italy.
7. If I were not a cadet, I would be ...
Well, first off, I would not be playing volleyball because I am not tall enough for other schools to take serious notice. I assume I would have to pick up another hobby then--most likely dancing. School-wise, I am not sure where I would be because I never applied to a school other than the Academy. However, I did look at Arizona State University and their biomedical engineering program. So quite possibly I could have turned out a normal girl and a normal school without any kind of sport to make a difference in.
8. If my friends had to use one word to describe me, it would be ...
When my friends describe me, especially my teammates, they simply say "You're just Caroline." When I ask them what they mean, they shrug and say, "I don't really know, you are just Caroline; there is no other way to explain it." And then they go on to assure me that it's not a bad thing. So, honestly, I guess I could say I am a little unique in silly and peculiar way at times.
9. The best part of playing volleyball is ...
As a D1 outside hitter who is really 5'8'' (not 5'10'' as the roster says), I find it very rewarding to prevail against blockers and other hitters who have at least half a foot on me in height. I bet it really annoys them when this seemingly average girl finds a way to tool them or hit around them. Just to hear them fret about me in the front row or track me constantly makes me laugh inside.
10. I came to the Academy because ...
I come from an all-Air Force family, and my brother graduated from the Academy in 2007. So in a way, coming to the Academy was part of a legacy. I have chosen to not be a pilot, so I didn't necessarily come solely for the dream to fly. I came for the one-of-a-kind opportunities and to force myself to find a track for the future because I did not know what I wanted to do with my life. The chance to play volleyball made the deal so much sweeter. Now that I am here, I would like to think I came here for the friends and travel opportunities.
11/24/2010 1:53:55 PM ET great for you to achieve your dream of flyingbut me my dream has always been to be pilot but am still far from achieving it