KELOWNA, BC -- Natalie Livingston, right side and setter coming out of Immaculata Regional High School in Kelowna, is the most recent addition to the 2016-17 Heat women’s volleyball team.
The 6’1” local talent has been playing competitive volleyball since she was twelve years old in the seventh grade at St. Joseph Elementary in Kelowna.
In that first season, she was named MVP on her gold medal-winning school team, and went on to earn another gold medal that year with her U13 KVC team at the Div 2 BC Club Provincials.
The medals and accolades continued throughout her high school career at Immaculata, as she earned her first high school gold medal at thirteen years old in the eighth grade, earning MVP honours for the second consecutive year.
She and her Immaculata team have medalled each season, in both the Catholic High Schools tournament and BC 1A Senior Provincials, from 2012 through 2016.
Natalie has also been named an All Star at a number of tournaments, beginning with her play in the U15 BC Club Provincials in 2012, her first season of senior ball.
She was named a 2nd Team All Star at the BC 1A Senior Provincials in her second year on the senior team, then a Heat Invitational Tournament All Star and 1st Team All Star at the Senior Provincials the next year.
In her grade twelve year, Livingston was named a Heat Invitation All Star once again, as well as a BC Catholics Tournament All Star, a Best Of The West Invitational Tournament All Star, the BC 1A Senior Provincials Tournament MVP, and a Club Season All Star.
Since 2013, Natalie has been playing her club volleyball with the Jr. Heat. With the program she has won a gold medal at the U17 Club Provincials in the 2013-14 season, a bronze medal in the same tournament the next season, and a silver medal at the U18 Club Provincials this past season.
That familiarity with the Heat and experience with UBCO played a part in Natalie’s decision to play her university volleyball in Kelowna. “I have had the opportunity to train at the gym with some of the Heat players and the Heat coaches and I feel very comfortable there,” she said. Livingston added, talking about her reason for choosing UBCO, “it’s close to home, the campus is beautiful, it has a growing reputation as a great place to get a degree.”
Outside of volleyball, Livingston is all-around athletic, as would seem is a family trait. “I enjoy backpacking and hiking,” Natalie explained, going on to say that she is also a certified life guard. She added, “my two older sisters both play volleyball in the OUA (Veronica at Ryerson and Caroline at Queens.)”
The soon-to-be General Sciences student at UBC Okanagan is evidently as excited as she appears prepared, per her volleyball resume, to play for the reigning National Bronze Medalists. “I am over the moon that I get the opportunity to play on such a high level and competitive team,” she says. “Both the girls on the team and the coaches are so welcoming. I am looking forward to developing as a player and a person with the Heat and hope I can contribute to the future success of the Heat program.”
That excitement is mutual, as the team and Coach Manuel make clear. “We are very happy to officially welcome Natalie to the Heat program,” said Heat head coach Steve Manuel. “She has been training here at UBC Okanagan and competing for the Jr. Heat program for several years, so we know we are getting a quality individual and an outstanding student athlete. Natalie has the complete package, she is an extremely versatile athlete, an excellent student and a great teammate. I have no doubt that she will be able to fill several roles on our team.”
With that ringing endorsement from her future head coach, and her exceptional volleyball resume, Natalie Livingston seems fit to be an impressive addition for the upcoming Heat season.
With the graduation of six from Steve Manuel's national bronze medal roster Natalie is the first profile on an unusually large recruiting class for the Heat women's volleyball team.