Heat cook up top talent

The UBC Okanagan Heat sign Kristof Schlagintweit of the Yale Secondary Lions for 2012-13 men's volleyball season.

The UBC Okanagan Heat have locked up another of the province’s top volleyball players as they load up for next fall’s CIS men’s season.

Kristof Schlagintweit of the Yale Secondary Lions in Abbotsford has given his letter of intent to play for the Heat.

A strong athlete and excellent off-court student, the 6-foot-4 Schlagintweit will try to step up as an option to replace Vernon’s Preston Tucker (Seaton Sonic grad) and become the Heat’s setter.

Heat head coach Greg Poitras has high hopes for Schlagintweit.

“Filling the shoes of graduating setter Preston Tucker will be no easy task,” he said. “Kristof will provide good depth in that position alongside Jon Russo, (first year, George Elliot Coyotes), who has primarily played as a winger for us this year but did run the offence at various times throughout the season.

“We are excited to have a player like Kristof join the program and help our team accomplish even more next year.”

Said Schlagintweit: “I have chosen UBC Okanagan because I was looking for a strong academic school with a competitive volleyball program. By spending a weekend with the Heat volleyball team, I got to know and like the atmosphere created by the players and coaching staff. I am looking forward to helping UBC Okanagan climb the CIS volleyball ladder.”

Schlagintweit’s coach at Yale, Mike Ivany, believes he will do just fine in making the adjustment to college life.

“On top of his superb volleyball skills, Kristof is also an excellent student that consistently gets straight A’s. There is no doubt in my mind that he is ready to compete and excel at the university level, academically and athletically.”

Ivany praised Schlagintweit’s leadership and commitment to his team.

“This was my first year coaching senior boys volleyball at Yale and Kristof’s knowledge and understanding of the game helped our team immensely.

“He was the captain and leader of our team, always supporting and encouraging his teammates. Kristof has the ability to make everyone around him play at their highest level possible. He helped turn our team of great athletes into a very solid volleyball team that took 11th place in the province.”

Schlagintweit has an impressive volleyball resume that includes bronze medals at both the national indoor and beach volleyball championships in 2011. Off the court, Kristof served as president of Yale’s grad council and maintained his status on the principal’s honor roll since 2009.

Schlagintweit is the third player off The Vancouver Province’s Best of B.C. list to commit to the Heat for 2012-13. He joins 6-foot-6 outside/middle Jim Bell and 6-foot-6 middle Alex Swaitlowski in Kelowna.