Osborn's late start hasn't held him back
It was a roundabout way that brought Chris Osborn to RDC and the Kings volleyball squad.
The six-foot-eight Osborn was born in Denver, Colo., and raised in Phoenix, Ariz. He played basketball most of his career and was a two-time state champion and a first-team state all-star. He planned on playing guard for the Air Force Academy after high school, but because of his height he wasn’t able to fly so he transferred to the University of California-Irvine.
After one season with the basketball team he decided to switch to volleyball.
“I had a lot of impact injuries in basketball and decided to make the change when the volleyball coach contacted me and asked me to come out, so I thought I’d give it a try and never looked back,” Osborn explained. “Besides my family has a huge background in volleyball. My parents (Jim and Christy) met at the national team camp.”
His uncle (Dewayne Osborn) also played with the University of Manitoba and that connection eventually led Osborn to the Manitoba school after a year of red shirting with UC Irvine.
“It was a great experience at Irvine as they won the NCAA championship,” said Osborn, who felt it was better for his career to move to the U of M.
A year later he realized another switch would be instrumental in his development as a player and moved to the Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. Because of the move he had to sit out a year and spent close to four months training and playing in Korea. It was there that he met former RDC King star Gavin Schmitt.
“We played against Gavin’s team and he was the best volleyball player I’ve seen in real life,” said Osborn. “I talked with him and he told me he attended RDC and about the program. I’m also friends with (former Kings) Taylor Hunt and Mitch Irvine and they talked to me about making the switch to the right side and that (RDC head coach Aaron) Schulha was awesome. I knew of Schulha even when I was at Manitoba.”
That had a lot to do with him making one more move to Red Deer.
Because of his late start in volleyball Osborn knew playing the right side would be best as he looked to further his career.
“Because I started volleyball late I didn’t get the passing reps needed to play power and I can’t be a setter, so the right side is perfect. I can use my athletic ability and hit . . . use my strengths the best.”
Osborn showed those strengths during the Kings 3-0 win over Grant MacEwan Saturday at RDC. He had four stuff blocks and six kills — the majority of which left the crowd in awe — in the first set alone.
“My strengths are jumping high (close to a 12-foot vertical) and hitting hard.”
Osborn’s weekend performance was impressive, but he’s not even at 100 per cent after suffering a bout of E. coli during the RDC Kings Challenge Cup tournament.
“It was the worst version, plus I had blood poisoning,” he explained.
He returned to Phoenix and lost 30-pounds while spending five days in the hospital.
“That was a crazy week,” he said. “I don’t think they still know exactly what I had. A mystery, but I’m better now.”
He’s still doesn’t have all his energy back, but “when playing I have the adrenalin, so it’s coming along and I can play a full match.
“I’m not back on my normal diet, but I hope in about four weeks to be at the top of my game.”
“We just have to make sure his energy level stays up,” said Schulha. “It’s good when things are going well, but we have to make sure it’s positive energy when things aren’t going well. Still he’s playing well for us.”
How long will he stay at RDC?
“I love this team and being here and I’m committed to Red Deer until I’m technically developed on the right side,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how long that takes.”
The RDC volleyball squads face The Kings University College Eagles in an Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference home-and-home series this week — Thursday in Edmonton and Saturday at 6 p.m. at RDC.
• The basketball squads play a weekend twin bill at home, hosing NAIT Friday and Keyano Saturday.
The women tip off at 6 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday with the men to follow.
• The hockey Queens host SAIT Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Arena and visit SAIT Friday.
• RDC Kings soccer head coach Steve Fullarton was named the ACAC South Division coach of the year, and is the ACAC nominee for the CCAA coach of the year.
Fullarton took the Kings program from last place in 2011, when they won one game, to second place in the south and fourth place in the conference championship this year.
Meanwhile two members of the Kings — midfielder Geng Thain and defender Logan Grenier — were named to the South Division all-conference team. Forward Kevin Torres of Olds was also on the team.
It was a good week for RDC cross-country runner Devin Woodland, who won the ACAC championship ahead of teammate Kieran McDonald.
Woodland was named the Boston Pizza RDC male athlete of the week and shared the top male award for the ACAC. He’s also one of two runners out of Alberta to be nominated for CCAA All-Canadian honours.
The Queens soccer team, which placed third in the ACAC after a 3-0 win over Medicine Hat, will share the RDC female athlete of the week award.