Surrey product Kyle Pankratz, a 6-foot-7, 225-pound right side hitter will pull on the uniform of the UBC Okanagan Heat for the 2013-14 Canada West men’s volleyball season. Pankratz joins head coach Greg Poitras with UBCO program after starring at Briercest College in Caronport, Sask.
Poitras and his staff have tracking Kyle since he graduated from Fraser Heights Secondary two years ago, and felt he would be better served to get a year or two under his belt in the CCAA (Canadian Collegiate Athletics Association), before making the jump to the CIS with the Heat.
He played two years under coach Nigel Mullen at Briercrest, a program that has been nationally ranked in the CCAA for several years. Playing in the very competitive ACAC conference was “exactly what we wanted (him) to do,” according to Poitras.
“Kyle has made the necessary steps to play at the next level,” Poitras added. “He is a very hardworking, motivated athlete who still has a great deal of growth left in him on the volleyball court. With the departure of senior right-side player Riley McFarland we feel that Kyle is the right man for the job on the right-side.”
After an offensively lackluster season for the Heat, Poitras hopes to pair Kyle with former Canada West All-Star Nate Speijer (who red shirted last season due to injury early in the season) to create a more potent attack in McFarland’s absence.
“Kyle is a proven scorer,” said Poitras, “and we look forward to helping make this transition in becoming a scorer in the Canada West conference.”
Pankratz thinks that he will add more than just scoring to the Heat. At 6-7 Kyle can also have an impact on defense.
“I believe that I will bring size and power to the team,” feels the former provincial team member.
Kyle played U16 and U17 for Team BC during his high school career. “I feel that I am a presence at the net as well from the back row. I also feel that I am a hard worker and bring a positive attitude to the team, encouraging others and trying to get the best out of myself for the team.”
Maintaining a 3.25 GPA at the small college in Caronport, Kyle will transfer to UBC’s Okanagan campus, feels he is a good fit for the program and looks forward to school in Kelowna this fall.
“I have chosen UBCO because it is an amazing school, a great size, an amazing athletics program, and the schooling is highly rated in Canada,” adds an excited Pankratz. “I feel that I will fit in well with the school, the team, and that the school will better me and push me in many aspects of my life. I have looked at going to UBCO for years, dreaming to play CIS ball and to play for a coach as good as Greg. I feel that UBCO has finally opened its door for me, and will be an amazing opportunity.”