Maple Ridge’s Robyn Timmer is heading north after graduating this month from Garibaldi Secondary School.
Timmer has accepted a scholarship to play volleyball for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the northernmost university in North America.
While Fairbanks lies just 200 miles south of the arctic circle, Timmer will be spending plenty of time in and around the Lower Mainland.
The Nanooks volleyball program plays in the same NCAA Division II conference as a number of nearby schools, such as Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, and Western Washington University in Bellingham.
“I’ll be able to see my family when I come down for road games, so that’s great,” says Timmer.
Timmer started playing volleyball in the fifth grade at Whonnock Elementary School, and played for club teams as well as the Garibaldi Rebels during high school.
For the past two years, Timmer has played for the Surrey Synergy volleyball club as a setter, a position she likens to being the quarterback for the team.
“You’re only allowed three contacts per side so the first contact is usually a pass to the setter who sets up the play for the offence,” she said.
The team travelled to a number of scouting tournaments across the U.S., where she was able to get looks from U.S. colleges.
But a bit of self-promotion didn’t hurt, either.
Like many NCAA scholarship recipients, Timmer marketed herself to prospective schools in countless emails, using online videos of herself in action.
“You have to put yourself out there, and not be afraid to be rejected,” she says.
“And of course, grades are extremely important.”
Timmer completed Garibaldi’s International Baccalaureate certificate program while maintaining a straight A average. Her grades, along with strong SAT scores, helped her land the lucrative scholarship at UAF.
“I always knew I wanted to go somewhere with volleyball, but academics have always been the most important for me,” she says.
Timmer was prepared to forgo a volleyball scholarship to study at UBC on the strength of its environmental program.
She jumped at the chance to study at UAF, however, as it has one of the best environmental studies programs in the world, she says.
“It’s turned out so perfect,” says Timmer.