Aug 18, 2019

Love & volleyball

Brianna Campbell / The Collegian
Even athletes find some time in their busy schedule to spend time with that special someone

From practice to class, then back to practice again, the life of a Fresno State student-athlete leaves little time for a social life, let alone a serious relationship.

This Valentine’s Day Kelly Mason has set the day aside for a relaxed day with her boyfriend, filled with breakfast together, a fun outdoor bike ride and a nice steak dinner at Ruth’s Chris.

Two years ago this coming March 13, Mason and Jason Cantu met through mutual friends and hit it off right away. From that day forward, the two have enjoyed spending what time they can together.

“He’s my best friend and we hangout whenever we can,” Mason said.

Mason’s schedule makes things hard, but she says Cantu’s support helps her cope with the busy schedule.

“For times I need to vent or cry or celebrate or laugh, whatever it is, he is always there,” Mason said.

After a hectic week, which includes 6:30 a.m. workouts and 8 a.m. classes, Mason says her weekends are what make her push through the busy week.

“The weekends I love to just relax,” Mason said. “I’ll do some cardio workouts, hang out with my boyfriend and my roommates and just enjoy the downtime.”

Libero love, a strictly defensive player in volleyball, is something that the couple shares in common.

Mason just finished her third season on the women’s volleyball team as a starting libero and is working on her degree in mass communication and journalism. Cantu, on the other hand, is a graduate student, getting his credential in special education.

Cantu was a member of the Fresno State men’s volleyball club team for two years playing libero, where his final season, in 2008, they were ranked third in the nation. He now devotes his free time and skills as the first assistant coach for Buchanan High School’s men’s volleyball team.

With volleyball being a pivotal part of both their lives, it should come as no surprise what they enjoy doing together in their free time.

“On the norm we like to play pepper [a pass, set and spike drill] and compete in doubles volleyball games,” Cantu said.

“We are both extremely competitive, but we have found ways to laugh it off when we start getting tense while playing,” Mason said. “We make a great team playing though. We call ourselves ‘Team JK!’”

Aside from volleyball, the two share many other common interests.

If not on the hardwood, Mason and Cantu can be found enjoying bike rides, playing tennis, cruising in the car for day trips to Monterey, Santa Cruz or Yosemite and going to the mountains.

“When we just want to unwind and relax we’ll just cruise around or watch movies,” Mason said. “Or just crack jokes to laugh off stress.”

Mason and Cantu are student-athletes who make time for what matters most in life, relationships with others.

“We both are considerate of each others schedule, but we always find time to hangout or at least say hi,” Mason said.

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