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Riverside, Calif. (September 30, 2015) – Most people need a ladder to reach 12 feet. But for California Baptist University graduate Kristopher Johnson ('14), that height is where his profession takes him regularly—and without any vertical support.  

Kris Johnson team usa web.jpgAt 6 feet 11 inches and 200-pounds, Johnson is an up and coming middle blocker for the USA Men's Volleyball squad. His soaring jumping ability and long-arm span makes him part of the team's front line defense against opponent's attacks. 

Johnson's vertical reach tips the 12 feet mark—two feet higher than a standard professional basketball rim.

"I remember the first time I jumped that high, I felt like I was flying," he said. "It's taken me a lot of practice and preparation to be able to jump that high."

Johnson spent the summer of 2015 competing in the Pan American Games (Pan Am) in Toronto, Canada, for Team USA. The Pan Am Games are the world's third largest international multi-sport competition. Forty-one nations sent athletes to compete in this year's games.   

In five matches, Johnson had an attack percentage of .529 and he compiled 27 kills, eight blocks and four digs. The United States took sixth place, with Argentina taking gold, Brazil silver and Canada bronze. It was a lot of exposure for Johnson and the sport of indoor volleyball in general, as ESPN broadcast all of the U.S. matches through WatchESPN. 

"I had butterflies in my stomach the first time I stepped on the court," Johnson said. "However, once the ball started to fly around I said to myself, 'Let's play.'"

Johnson is also entering into his second year with Leka Volley Club, a professional volleyball team in Finland.

"I would say volleyball is the third most popular sport in Finland," He said. "I have great coaches over there and I play to get better."