Transfer student to join men’s volleyball

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okanagan heat

Cary Mellon

May 17, 2013 Kelowna, BC (ISN) – Kyle Pankratz, a 6’7”, 225lb right side hitter has committed to playing for the Heat men’s volleyball squad under head coach Greg Poitras next fall. Pankratz, from Surrey, BC, will come to the Heat after starring for Briercrest College in Caronport SK.

Poitras and his coaching staff have been keeping track of Kyle since he graduated from Fraser Heights Secondary two years ago, and felt that he would be better served to get a year or two under his belt in the CCAA (Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association) and then look at his CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) options. The Heat made the jump from CCAA to CIS starting two seasons ago.

He played two years under coach Joel Mullen at Briercrest, a program that has been nationally ranked in the CCAA for several years. Playing in the very competitive ACAC conference was “exactly what we wanted [him] to do”, according to Poitras.

“Kyle has made the necessary steps to the next level,” Poitras commented. “He is a very hardworking, motivated athlete who still has a great deal of growth left in him on the volleyball court. With the departure of senior right-side player Riley McFarland we feel that Kyle is the right man for the job on the right-side.”

After an offensively lackluster season, Poitras will hope to pair Kyle with former Canada West All-Star Nate Speijer (who red shirted last season due to injury early in the season) to create a more potent attack in McFarland’s absence.

“Kyle is a proven scorer,” said Poitras, “and we look forward to helping make this transition in becoming a scorer in the Canada West conference.”

Pankratz thinks that he will add more than just scoring to the Heat. At 6’7″ Kyle can also have an impact on defense. “I believe that I will bring size and power to the team,” feels the former provincial team member. Kyle played U16 and U17 for Team BC during his high school career. “I feel that I am a presence at the net as well from the back row. I also feel that I am a hard worker and bring a positive attitude to the team, encouraging others and trying to get the best out of myself for the team.”

Maintaining a 3.25 GPA at the small college in Caronport, Kyle will transfer to UBC’s Okanagan campus and feels he is a good fit for the program and looks forward to school in Kelowna this fall.

“I have chosen UBCO because it is an amazing school, a great size, an amazing athletics program, and the schooling is highly rated in Canada,” adds an excited Pankratz. “I feel that I will fit in well with the school, the team, and that the school will better me and push me in many aspects of my life. I have looked at going to UBCO for years, dreaming to play CIS ball and to play for a coach as good as Greg. I feel that UBCO has finally opened its door for me, and will be an amazing opportunity.”

The third year player will join an excellent recruiting class for coach Poitras, who added three of the top seven ranked high school players, according to The Province, earlier in the year. Lars Bornemann of Victoria’s Oak Bay Secondary, Kris McCrea an outside hitter from Dr. Charles Best Secondary, and 6’7” Middle Chris Wilson from Earl Marriot Secondary have already committed to the Heat for the upcoming season.

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