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, 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,” comments Wuttunee. “I spent some time at UBC Okanagan when I trained with the 16U 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 6’3” middle will make a great contribution to the team 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 such as Emily Oxland, and from Team BC, Brianna Beamish, Kailin Jones, and Chandler Proch.
“Katie is another big piece of the puzzle for us,” explains the head coach of the women’s volleyball program, Steve 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 who is going into his twelfth year running the team is rapidly building an exceptional roster, and the Heat are quickly proving their ability to recruit and play at this level. The future is bright for the new Canada West team which looks to be quickly evolving and growing, especially in light of the new signings.
“As we got to know Katie we quickly began to see that she would fit in very well,” continues Manuel. “She is a great team mate, 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’s team won a gold medal with Team BC when she was 18 years old, as well as placing 3rd at the 18U Canada Open with the BCO Elite team. In the same year, her BCO Elite team won the 18U BC Provincial Championship. With the BCO U16 team, she helped take 3rd place at the 16U Canada West Open and was named the Canada West Open Tournament All-Star. Katie attended Carson Graham Secondary in North Vancouver.
“As a player I have always been a pretty good blocker and played well under pressure,” comments 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 Sec., Calgary, AB), setter Emily Oxland (Handsworth Sec., N. Vancouver, BC) and outside hitter Kaitlynn Given (Kelowna Secondary) as new members next fall.