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Mount Sentinel grad, Kendra Wayling, earns high praise at UBC Okanagan awards banquet

Kendra Wayling was a force no matter where she played on the court. — photo courtesy UBC Okanagan athletics

Kendra Wayling’s place in Mount Sentinel Wildcats volleyball is secure.

Spiking, digging and providing solid leadership, Wayling powered the Cats to a provincial title during her senior year in South Slocan.

Now the 5’10” middle-blocker-turned-setter has etched her way into the UBC Okanagan’s varsity athletic history books.

Wayling was named the 2012 female athlete of the year during the UBC O awards banquet Tuesday in Kelowna.

Wayling, who joined Nate Speijer from the men’s volleyball squad, made it a clean sweep of the top prize for the net sport and six of the past seven years both awards have gone to volleyball players.

“I’m not surprised and I concur with Steve’s (Manuel) comments,” Mount Sentinel athletic director and head coach of the Wildcats varsity girl's program, Joe Moreira told The Nelson Daily Friday after reading comments of the Heat head coach on the web.

“She has always been that person .  . ..”

“This is just one example of how valuable she was to the team,” Manuel told the Kelowna Daily Courier. “Kendra was so steady at the middle position and just became more and more indispensable as the season went on.

“No matter the situation we couldn’t afford not to have her on the floor.”

Manuel was talking about the versatility of Wayling, the daughter of Rand and Christine Wayling of Castlegar — both parents a force on the college scene during their playing days.

Midway though the season, Wayling was forced to switch from her middle blocking position to setter when starter Chandler Proch hurt her back.

This was the first season for UBC Okanagan playing in the Canada West Universities Athletic Association. UBC Okanagan finished ninth overall in the 11-team league with a 6-14 record.

UBC Okanagan finished the season with a 12-21 overall record.

Last season, playing in the B.C. College Athletic Association, the Heat won the provincial title before losing out at Nationals.

Wayling, 22, is no stranger to the spotlight.

During her senior year at Mount Sentinel the 5’9” middle player led the Cats not only to the B.C. High School A Girl’s Volleyball title, but also the B.C. High School A Girl’s Basketball crown.

Wayling started her schooling in Nelson before the family moved to Castlegar. In her Grade 10 year Wayling transfered to the South Slocan where she played three seasons at Mount Sentinel.

After graduating, Wayling played a season in Idaho for Coeur d’ Alene College before taking a year off to rehab an injured knee.

“(Kendra) is a rare athlete that had to be reminded to take a day off now and then rather than head into the gym again and again,” Moreira exclaimed.

Zaitsoff earns top marks off the pitch

Another local athlete was also honoured during the Heat award's banquet.

Nelson native Dylan Zaitsoff of the men’s soccer team was a PACWEST academic excellence award recipient.

Zaitsoff helped power the Heat to a bronze medal during the provincial soccer championships held in Kelowna.