GPRC Wolves Women’s Volleyball Season Outlook

GPRC Wolves Women’s Volleyball Season Outlook

After closing last season with a 7th place finish at the 2018 CCAA Women’s Volleyball National Championship, the Wolves 2018-2019 volleyball season kicked off with seven returning players, and eight rookies to the pack.

With a largely unchanged squad led by Grande Prairie native, fourth-year outside hitter Megan Koch, the Wolves round up the local contingent with third-year libero McKenna Wolstenholme and second-year Chloe Keay. Third-years Leah Friesen and Meagan Warner add experience to the young squad, with sophomores Vanessa Belzile and Cameron Golder rounding up the returning players.

Sitting second in the Conference for kills at the end of last season, Koch, who is also a two time All-Canadian and ACAC Conference Athlete is already proving to be a threat in the conference with a 3.64 kill per set average.

New to the pack this season include local athletes, Mackenzie Morgan and Karly Burkinshaw who both played their rookie seasons in the conference, Morgan with the Olds College Broncos and Burkinshaw with the SAIT Trojans. The Wolves also welcomed six new rookies in the form of Kelsey Dukart from Stony Plain and Bailey Chartrand from Edmonton, and Alex Pullishy and Tori Macooh from Spirit River. Piper Chillog and Taylor Henley, both graduates of St. Joseph Catholic High School are no strangers to the Grande Prairie volleyball community.

“I am really happy with our preseason training and competition,” says Head Coach Chantelle LaMotte. “We are laying the foundation and have started to establish ourselves on the court.”

Early into the season, the Wolves took on two of the traditionally top teams in their conference.

“That was exciting and really shows us early how hard we need to train and compete and where we need to improve. The North is a strong conference and we have to battle tough with our eyes on the top spots,” said LaMotte.

“We have two talented complimentary setters and a great line up of attackers to back them up. I am most excited for the potential for this team. We are always aiming to execute a higher level of play. The players put in an immense amount of work in the classroom, weight room and training”.

Welcome to the pack, Karly!

Welcome to the pack, Karly!

The GPRC Wolves are pleased to announce the signing of Karly Burkinshaw to the Women’s Volleyball program.

Welcome to the pack, Karly!

A graduate of Peace Wapiti Academy, Karly played her rookie season with the SAIT Trojans. She looks forward to continuing her college volleyball career in her home town. Head Coach Chantelle LaMotte says that Karly will be a welcomed addition to the Wolves offense, as a 6’0 middle, Karly will be an asset to our front line with her ability to read the game and shut down the attack.

Welcome to the pack, Karly!

Olivia Abram: Back on her Home Court!

Olivia Abram: Back on her Home Court!

The Wolves Volleyball Camp that took place this last week was a huge success. With over 30 kids participating, the gym was abuzz with activity. We caught up with coach, alumnus Olivia Abram who amassed 653 digs in her two seasons as libero with the Wolves from 2012-14.

Here’s what she had to say;

GPRC Alumnus, Olivia Abram.

What are you doing since you graduated?

I’m teaching Junior and Senior High English Language Arts with the Edmonton Public School District and have coached the Jasper, Sylvan Lake, and Harry Ainlay Volleyball Camps this summer.

What was the highlight of your College playing career?

In 2014, we earned silver medals at both ACAC Championships at home, and CCAA Championships in Toronto. We came together as a team and it was exciting to see how we matched up against teams from all over the country.


What’s the most special memory you have from your time with the Wolves?

Going to Cuba with the team was an incredible experience. All of my most important memories have to do with building relationships with my teammates and coaches – they’ve made me who I am.

Any funny memories?

So many! Ron Thomson booting the ball out of a player’s hands; Ron screaming at the top of his lungs in a pitch you’d expect from a teenage girl after a player attacked the ball out of the court, and of course Larry’s announcing and howling at the beginning of every home game.

Is there a favourite coach saying you use as a guide when you’re coaching, and have you used it your coaching style?

Ron often said to me “don’t do too much”. I think this is very important for the hyper active overzealous athlete who wants to be perfect. Focus on one thing at a time, then move on a tend to your own “garden”. Jeff Smith focused on “we before me” which is another saying I like to use to this day with my teams. Selflessness is important if a team is to be successful. I will always strive to challenge and push my athletes to stretch themselves the way Ron did to me. He always explained the reasoning behind technical feedback and that is something I pride myself in, as well. His passion and energy that I mirror have also helped with my motivating of athletes.

As a coach, how would you coach the younger you?

I would focus on energy and emotional control. I lost my focus a lot because of frustration and expectations I put on myself. I don’t think mental training, like the training we did with Matt Bain in college can ever be taught too soon.

Bike A Thon: Make Some Noise for Mental Health

Bike A Thon: Make Some Noise for Mental Health

GPRC is proud to be standing up for Mental Health Awareness by making some noise for mental health.

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Student-athletes and mental health advocates in Alberta are teaming up with RBC Olympians and Sheldon Kennedy to reduce stigma related to mental illness and promote mental health and wellness. Make Some Noise for Mental Health is an award-winning campaign which promotes mental health awareness on 17 post-secondary campuses in 15 communities. Coinciding with ‘Blue Monday’, the campaign begins on January 16 and continues until February 12, 2017.

Read the full Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference news release here.

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Join us on February 3rd and 4th at our GPRC Volleyball home games against the University of Alberta Augustana Vikings to show support of your student athletes and spread awareness of mental health. 

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Earlier in the day of February 3rd, join us for a Bike A Thon: Make Some Noise for Mental Health put on by your GPRC Student Wellness and hosted in the SAGPRC Howler’s Lounge. 

The Bike-A-Thon event features up to 20 teams on 20 stationary bikes in the GPRC Howlers Lounge pedaling to achieve the furthest distance for the grand prize.

Student Wellness, Wolves Athletics and the Students’ Association are working together to put together a fun event that will raise awareness for mental health, bring the student body together and burn some calories! Go the distance for Mental Health and Campus Activities!

Learn more on how to register and get involved here. 

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