University of Idaho - I Banner
students walk on University of Idaho campus

Visit U of I

Learn about the many reasons the University of Idaho could be a perfect fit for you. Schedule Your Visit

Keeping Her Focus On and Off the Court

December 09, 2017

 This article was written by Taylor Nadauld and published in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. Read the original article here.


Torrin Crawford was a redshirt with a full-ride scholarship, a love for sports and a goal to become an elementary school teacher when she first enrolled at the University of Idaho in 2013.

Today, after changing her major, facing an injury and proving her skill as a middle blocker on the U of I volleyball team, the 23-year-old will graduate from the university with a bachelor's degree in exercise science and health and a new goal to go on to nursing school.

Growing up in Walla Walla, Wash., Crawford had always shown an interest in sports. She played high school basketball with the dream to eventually play in the Women's National Basketball Association.

But it was not until her sophomore year of high school that Crawford began getting into volleyball, and not long after that she received a scholarship to play for U of I.

Since then, Crawford has faced several twists and turns that have fine-tuned her goals for the future.

The first twist came during an Elementary Education 101 class. Students were asked to write an essay explaining why they chosen the major they did. But Crawford had trouble even answering the question.

"I couldn't write the paper," Crawford said, laughing.

Instead, she took some inspiration from her mother, an orthopedic nurse, and began studying exercise science with the hopes of eventually going into the medical field herself. Crawford completed two practicums before she landed an internship at Palouse Surgery Center, where she helped the medical staff and was able to watch orthopedic surgeries up close.

It was there that Crawford not only fell in love with the medical field, but discovered being a nurse could be very similar to volleyball.

"You walk in and you go to a locker room and you change into the same outfit as everyone else and you have a task at hand and you have a game plan to execute it, and then you work together with your co-workers to do it," Crawford said.

Along the way, Crawford said the key to her success has been keeping focus. She said much of that focus has come from her faith.

The spiritual aspect of her life was important for Crawford to keep up while she was consumed with volleyball. On the road and in the lobbies of hotels, Crawford said she would hold Bible studies with her teammates to keep perspective as she played.

"The sport can be all-consuming if you let it be," Crawford said. "When we're on the road, just refocusing the purpose of why we're even there to remember that it's not about our performance or identity in the sport, but because of what God has given us and what he's done that we're even able to have this opportunity."

That aspect of identity came into focus Crawford's sophomore year of college, when she tore her abdomen during a particularly intense workout.

Crawford's coach, Debbie Buchanan, said Crawford pushed through her pain that day until the injury occurred.

"The fact that she wanted to be in there and she was playing through the pain until it went too far, I think says a lot about her character," Buchanan said.

Crawford was out of the game for four months while she healed. Injury can be particularly hard on athletes, Crawford said, because it triggers a sort of identity crisis.

Crawford said she used the time she was out to put her life back into perspective and remember why she was at the U of I in the first place.

This week, Crawford's teammates voted her "Most Inspirational" at an annual, end-of-year volleyball banquet. Crawford also received the Kathy Clark Scholar Athlete Award for ability to balance schoolwork and sports as a senior.

Her lifelong friend and teammate, Reece Carman, said Crawford's inspirational qualities come in her ability to keep teammates in their heads and in reminding them why they play volleyball.

"I think that she's always the one before games, after games, during time-outs, that is talking to us and making sure we're not getting too selfish about it. We're not thinking about winning for ourselves, but winning for the girls around us," she said.

Despite the focus Crawford has put into volleyball throughout her time at the U of I, Crawford said her biggest success has been learning how to keep any of her passions from defining her.

"One of the things I'm most proud of is learning that I'm more than a volleyball player and figuring out what it's like to be a friend and a sister and a daughter and eventually, hopefully, a nurse," Crawford said.


About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at