Versatile outside hitter to join Heat women for 2013-14 campaign

okanagan heat

Cary Mellon
April 24, 2013, Kelowna, BC (ISN) – Michelle Jakszuk of Elphinstone Secondary (Gibsons, BC) has committed to suiting up for the Heat women’s volleyball team next fall.

The 6’1” outside hitter comes with a great set of skills as she enters UBC’s Okanagan Campus; is very athletic with great jumping ability and, for a player still in high school already possesses a wide variety of shots, as Heat coach Steve Manuel has noted. “She has the ability to be the player that can break a game wide open with her offensive abilities, a role we will be looking to fill now that Alex Basso is graduating.”

Basso, a five-year starter for the Heat, was a decorated outside hitter who was a key member of the team’s three-time Provincial and two-time National championship titles while in the CCAA and helped guide the team into the CIS and a playoff berth this past season.

Michelle’s versatility isn’t limited to the things she can do on the volleyball court but across a handful of activities, she was a successful multi-sport athlete during her high school years, playing soccer, basketball and volleyball, as well as competing in track and field. Consistently an MVP for her high-school soccer and volleyball teams, she eventually settled into volleyball as her first and primary passion.

Michelle was a North Shore, Provincial High School and Provincial Club First team All-Star from 2010-12. She was also the 2012 Ogopogo High School tournament MVP (held at UBC’s Okanagan campus each fall) and was named to the All-Star team of the UBC High School tournament in Vancouver (See below for a full list of Michelle’s athletic achievements).

Michelle is also a former teammate of Heat setter Emily Oxland (North Vancouver, BC), and that familiarity with the team’s setter, a member of the CIS national all-rookie team, will certainly assist Michelle’s transition to attacking at the university level.

“We believe that Michelle will be an impact player in Canada West and we are very happy that she has chosen to join our Heat program,” Manuel added as he looks forward to his squad’s third year in the CIS.

Michelle is very excited to attend UBC Okanagan for her studies as well: “I chose [to come to] UBC Okanagan because of its small campus. I like the idea of a smaller school with smaller classes. The campus being new and renovated is a bonus too! I’ve been coming to the Okanagan every summer for as long as I can remember, so I really like the location.”

She will enroll in the B.A. program but is not sure yet what she will major in. “I still don’t know exactly what I want to study, but I do know I want to do something to help people, whether it’s through teaching or medicine, I’m still not sure.”

“As far as the team goes, the Heat girls are all very inclusive and they made me feel welcome from day one,” she added. “I think you need to be friends off the court as well as on the court, so I’m looking forward to making some long-term friendships.”

Michelle is a top ranked volleyball player in BC and is coach Manuel’s first player to commit to his young and talented team for the 2013-14. The future looks bright for the Heat; last season they finished tied for third in Canada West, and tasted postseason play in only their second year in the new, more competitive, league. Year three in the CIS the Heat are losing only the aforementioned Basso from the squad.

Along with Jakszuk, Manuel will welcome back Chandler Proch; Chandler, the starting setter in 2011-12, will rejoin the team in September after fully recovering from her injury that sidelined her for the entire 2012-13 season.

Athletic Achievements:

– Voted Most Athletic in high school (2012-13)

– Okanagan Beach Tournament, July 2012, First Place

– Canadian Beach Nationals, August 2012, Tied for fifth place

– MVP High School volleyball 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

– Named to North Shore First All-Star team 2010, 2011, 2012

– Named to Provincial High School First All-star team 2010, 2011, 2012

– Named to Provincial Club First All-star Team 2011, 2012

– Team BC 2010

– Canada Selects Team 2011 that competed in Florida

– UBC Okanagan High School Tournament MVP 2012

– UBC High School Tournament All-Star team 2012

– Peace Arch Tournament MVP 2012

– Provincial High School Bronze Medal 2012

– 1st Place North Shore High School 2011, 2012

– 1st Place Vancouver and District 2012

– Trinity Western University High School Tournament All-Star Team 2010

– MVP Basketball 2008

– MVP Soccer 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

– Cedar Grove Elementary School Excellent Award 2008

– Provincial Track and Field Bronze medal in 100m