- Outside Hitter
- Business Administration
Cranston takes her education very seriously, and holds the highest GPA on her team (3.91). She is a three-time academic All-Mountain West selection (2009, 2010, 2011), but what’s more, is that she is also a three-time Mountain West Scholar-Athlete—the highest academic achievement bestowed by the conference. Each of the past three seasons, Cranston has also been selected to the District VII academic team, presented by CoSIDA/ESPN (2010) and Capital One (2011 and 2012). She was a second-team selection as a sophomore and junior before being named to the first team this past November. She is now eligible to become the second Academic All-American in program history. She also is one of just four Mountain West players to be selected to the Academic All-District team all three years of eligibility for the honor. As a business administration major, Cranston hopes to someday hold a management position for a team or athletic department. She is interested in possibly becoming an associate athletic director and senior woman administrator due to her interest in “working with a team of people to benefit an athletic department.” Her desire to work in athletics, however, will come after her playing days come to an end. She also has aspirations of competing in the 2016 Olympic Games. In 2010, Cranston trained with the Canadian B national team, and in 2011 earned a spot with the national team, practicing and competing with the team for several months as it prepared for a berth in the 2012 Olympics in London. Cranston is a native of Fort St. John, B.C.
Cranston is the glue that holds the team together, according to her coach, Tom Hilbert, partially because of her competitiveness on the court, but mostly because of her character. Whether it be a practice, match or team meeting, Cranston gives it her all, and she inspires her team to do the same.
“Dana, from a character perspective, is an incredible person,” Hilbert said. “She has been a great leader since the day that she walked into this gym as a freshman. She has always done what she’s asked to do. She is the type of player that makes you, as a coach, keep enjoying the job, because she does everything right. She’s a great example for the younger kids. She makes everyone around her better, because she sets the standard so high—and that’s not just about volleyball; that’s academically, as a person and just who she is.”
According to a teammate, “We wouldn’t be the team we are without Dana. Seeing her work ethic and how motivated she is to not take the easy route, but to get better the right way and do the right thing, it helps us all. She’s helps me each day become a better volleyball player, but also a better person” Aside from volleyball, Cranston is also one of four student leaders for the campus ministry group, Athletes in Action, and was praised by her peers for addressing and leading several situations throughout the year.
Cranston has been a part of several community service projects, including working countless volleyball camps and athletic events to help develop the skills and passion of younger volleyball players. Integrating her hometown, she also helps coach at her high school whenever she goes back home. She has also developed a Facebook group where she interacts with younger players from her hometown, and gives them advice with volleyball, friends and life.
She has also done things away from the game, such as reading to elementary students on a regular basis and talking to assemblies about the importance of education. While with Team Canada, she participated in multiple projects, including working bingo night and cleaning up her community through picking up trash. She also helped raise money for breast cancer through her involvement with the Nanaimo Dragonboat Festival.
Additionally, Cranston is a key member of several Bible studies, including Athletes in Action, where she aims to elevate her game to more than just winning on the court.
What Cranston does well is that she’s balanced, and can help her team out in any form, which is a major reason she was selected in August as the Mountain West Preseason Co-Player of the Year. The selection was made by the league’s nine head coaches. With two weeks remaining in the regular season, Cranston ranks first on the team in kills (3.53 per set; second in Mountain West), service aces (0.29; first in MW) and points (4.27; second in MW). The senior also ranks third in assists (0.20) and blocks (0.77), and fourth in digs (2.08). On Oct. 1, she was named the Mountain West Volleyball Player of the Week after leading the Rams to a pair of victories the prior weekend, averaging 4.17 kills per set on .523 hitting, in addition to 1.00 aces per set. She has matched her career high of 19 kills three times this season, including two matches in a row in early November. She has recorded double-digit kill totals in 20 of the team’s 25 matches, including seven in a row as of Nov. 13. She has led her team in that category a total of 16 times, and has five double-doubles.
As a junior in 2011, the outside hitter ranked second was an All-Mountain West selection after leading the team in service aces and ranking second in kills, third in points and fourth in blocks. She posted 11 double-digit kill totals, including in six of the final eight matches of the season. She had one of her better performances on one of the biggest stages—in front of 8,624 fans at Hawaii in the second round of the NCAA tournament. On that night, she tallied 14 kills and 12 digs, her fifth double-double of the season.