Four days of high-performance training followed by a tournament with elite players from four other provinces.
That was the set up for Vernon volleyball stars Liam Remple and Tysen Fairweather as they represented Team B.C. U16/17 Red/Blue entry at the recent Canada Cup at the Richmond Olympic Oval.
And while they finished last out of eight teams, both players improved and turned in stellar showings. They lost a few hotly-contested matches in five sets which would have changed things dramatically.
“We were equal competitively, but most of the teams were taller than us,” said Fairweather, a 5-foot-11, 155-pound setter who plays power in high school for the VSS Panthers. “Saskatchewan was super tall.”
Both boys were selected from Baden Cup camps held in Kelowna and Kamloops. They lived and trained at Thompson Rivers University from July 4-18 prior to the Canada Cup.
“I think they (coaches) liked my work ethic,” said Fairweather. “I was going for every ball and doing my best. I was giving positive feedback to my teammates and pumping up people.”
Fairweather used his quickness and soft hands well at the Canada Cup tourney. He is versatile enough to also play right side with his 30-inch plus vertical. He injured his knee and was unable to play as much as he would have liked in the last day of playoffs.
Remple, who started at middle blocker with the Sky U17s club team, was actually selected to the U15 team BC Summer Games team along with his Vernon Christian school teammates Jacob Defoe, Josh Hall, and Levi Vanderdeen. He trained with them in preparation for the Cowichan Valley Games.
“Every game was close; we could never finish,” said Remple of the Canada Cup. “It (pace) was nothing I wasn’t used to. I was doing pretty good when I was on the floor.”
At the same B.C. Games selection camp, Remple was also chosen to the U16/17 Baden cup program through Team B.C. for the Canada Cup.
At the Baden Cup camp, Liam was selected to the Team BC Red/Blue provincial team which would compete at the Canada cup hosted in Richmond by Volleyball Canada.
Remple faced a difficult decision because both the Summer Games and the Canada Cup were scheduled for the same weekend. He decided to stay with the Canada Cup team and in the end, made the right decision as he worked his way into a starting middle blocker position dominating at the net with his athletic ability and 6-foot-6 frame and 35-inch vertical.
In the opening match versus Ontario, Remple posted six blocks, three kills an 85 per cent serving proficiency in his first Set and carried it through the rest of the tournament.
Earlier this season at Club Nationals in Edmonton, he received a fair bit of interest from some colleges and universities even though he was in Grade 9 at the time.
“I want to work on my ability to pass; I need to improve that overall,” said Remple, who plays post in basketball and used to play hockey. “I’d like to play university somewhere like U of A (Alberta) or TRU (Thompson Rivers) when I graduate.”