Three local players highlight head coach Brad Hudson’s group of five incoming student-athletes brought in to the fold of the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s volleyball program.
Vernon Christian’s Ben Molitwenik, listed as No. 8 in the annual poll of B.C.’s top grade 12 players, will join OKM’s Kevin Jacklin as two Okanagan-trained athletes straight out of high school to join Hudson’s squad for 2020-21. In addition to those two outstanding locals, Hudson has added a hometown collegiate transfer, Jackson Obst, from UFV.
Keatan Mann is another transfer, from Douglas College, and a setter from Burnaby Secondary, Cade Hudson, round out this year’s incoming class.
Mann and Molitwenik are both 6’4” outside hitters, Jacklin and Obst both play in the middle. Hudson stands an even six feet, and will lineup as a setter for UBCO.
“I really like the volleyball IQ and the high character of this class,” said Hudson.
“They will make a positive impact on our team and fit in nicely to our amazing team culture. They are hardworking, passionate about the sport, dedicated students and winners. We are excited to share in their collegiate experience and can’t wait to get them on campus.”
Cade Hudson is a 6’0” setter from Burnaby, B.C., Cade Hudson played club volleyball with some of the best club programs in the country. Most recently he was with the Fraser Valley Volleyball Club, prior to that Hudson competed with the Apex Volleyball Club for four seasons.
Raised locally, Kevin Jacklin joins the Heat from Kelowna, B.C., where he played four years at OKM Secondary School. The 6’6” middle blocker earned several accolades in his time at OKM, along with starring for the Kelowna Volleyball Club (KVC) including the KVC 18U KaPow! Team.
After playing two years in the PACWEST, 6’4” right side Keatan Mann will jump to the rigours of Canada West men’s volleyball competition after transferring to the UBCO Heat for the 2020-21 season. Mann played two seasons with Douglas College, the last one back in 2018-19. The left-handed attacker played in 45 sets with the Royals in those two seasons putting down a total of 72 kills.
Prior to joining Douglas, Mann was a standout at Delta Secondary where he played not only volleyball but soccer and ball hockey as well with the Pacers.
A volleyball protégé from Vernon, B.C., Ben Molitwenik has played on his school’s senior volleyball team every year, from grade eight through 12. Molitwenik’s impact can’t be understated with his Vernon Christian School’s athletics program and his name will go down in school history. The 6’4” outside hitter led his Royals teams to back-to-back B.C. High School Senior Boys A Volleyball championship, and he was named the tournament’s most outstanding player both years.
Returning home after two years at the University of Fraser Valley, Jackson Obst, the former Kelowna Owls star, will transfer to the Heat from the Cascades program. A 6’5” middle, Obst played in over 40 matches for the Abbotsford team in the PACWEST conference of the CCAA. In those two seasons he compiled over 70 total blocks, his 46 blocks in his sophomore campaign was fourth-best in the conference. Obst also posted over 100 total points in each of his two years there.