Heat lock up talented middle blocker

Heat head coach Steve Manuel has added an experienced middle blocker to the UBC Okanagan women’s volleyball team.

Katie Wuttunee has signed with the UBCO Heat women's volleyball team.

Katie Wuttunee has signed with the UBCO Heat women's volleyball team.

UBC Okanagan Heat Athletics

Heat head coach Steve Manuel has added an experienced middle blocker to the UBC Okanagan women’s volleyball team.

Katie Wuttunee has played one year of PACWEST volleyball with Capilano University Blues, who placed third in the province last season, and is now trading up to the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) with the Heat. Her goal was always to play PACWEST for one year and then transfer to a CIS school so that she could establish her skills and get some court time as a freshman.

“I only started playing club volleyball in Grade 10 so I thought one year at Capilano was a good way to improve my volleyball skills,” said Wuttunee. “I spent some time at UBC Okanagan when I trained with the U16 Team BC and I really enjoyed the city and the campus. Athletically, I am really looking forward to working with Steve and the coaching staff to improve my skills and contribute to a great program.”

The 6-foot-3 middle will make a great contribution with her height and also has the advantage of having already played with some of Manuel’s key players. Wuttunee says she is looking forward to reuniting with past teammates Emily Oxland, and from Team BC, Brianna Beamish, Kailin Jones, and Chandler Proch.

“Katie is another big piece of the puzzle for us,” said Manuel.  “She has the physical ability to be a dominant middle blocker in Canada West and her desire to compete makes her that much more of an asset.”

Manuel, entering his 12th year, is rapidly building an exceptional roster, and the Heat are quickly proving their ability to recruit and play at this level.

“As we got to know Katie we quickly began to see that she would fit in very well,” added Manuel. “She is a great teammate, a hard worker and a natural leader.  I am very much looking forward to working with Katie and helping her take her game to a whole new level.”

Wuttunee won a gold medal with Team BC when she was 18, as well as placing third at the U18 Canada Open with the BCO Elites. In the same year, her BCO Elite team won the U18 provincial championship. Her BCO U16 team bagged bronze at the U16 Canada West Open and was named the Canada West Open Tournament All-Star. She attended Carson Graham Secondary in North Vancouver.

“As a player I have always been a pretty good blocker and played well under pressure,” said Wuttunee. “This year I really improved my attacking and serving. My goal is to continue to improve and become one of the top middles in the country and win a national championship for the Heat.”

 

With four years of eligibility left, Wuttunee has decided to continue her Arts degree at UBC Okanagan and will be entering her second year of classes. This marks the fourth signing for Manuel as Wuttunee will join outside hitter Megan Festival (Western Canada Secondary Redmen, Calgary), setter Emily Oxland (Handsworth Royals, North Vancouver) and outside hitter Kaitlynn Given (Kelowna Owls) as new members next fall.