The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack ventured to the West Kootenay, and to the former stomping grounds of their head coach, to add some size as men's volleyball team begins their recruiting class for the 2020-21 Canada West season.
The Pack and head coach Pat Hennelly recently announced that they have signed 6’9” Reilly Podovelnikoff from the Mount Sentinel Wildcats.
Podovelnikoff attends Mount Sentinel High School in South Slocan, the same school Hennelly attended. He comes to the Wolfpack as a middle position player but also has some experience playing on the right side.
“I met Tim Dobbert during my school visit last spring,” Podovelnikoff said. “The team made me feel very welcome.”
Podovelnikoff adds that the fact his father Scott played with Hennelly and knows that Perrin attended Thompson Rivers were key factors in his decision to commit along with the fact his idol Gord Perrin is an alumni of the WolfPack program and that his dad and Hennelly’s former coach Dave Olynyk helps with the TRU program.
“Reilly has really improved tremendously in his volleyball skills, play and understanding of the game in a relatively short time,” said high school coach Glen Campbell. “His greatest asset is his size and being reasonably athletic/coordinated for someone his size (and he is still growing).
"Reilly also has really good passing, volley and hitting skills.”
Although he suffered two injuries which prevented him from practicing and playing, Podovelnikoff helped his Mount Sentinel Wildcats to a fifth place finish at the Provincial “A” boys championships last year and are ranked number two in BC going into the 2019 Provincials which are being held at Mount Sentinel. The tournament begins Thursday at Selkirk College and L.V. Rogers gymnasiums in Castlegar and Nelson, respectively.
Podovelnikoff is truly a project as he has only played competitive volleyball for two years but made Team BC twice and attended the 2019 Nationals in Halifax.
“Looking forward to adding Reilly to the program," Hennelly said about his recruit.
"I played with his dad Scott at Mount Sentinel in the 80’a where we won the 1987 provincial championship. I have watched Reilly develop over the past two years and have been impressed with his progress. Reilly is a presence at the net and will have the ability to challenge some of our big guys.”
Podovelnikoff’s father Scott thinks Reilly will be focused and determined when he begins play next fall in Kamloops.
"He has had many barriers being diabetic and having a learning disability," Scott Podovelnikoff’ said. "We’re so proud and know he will continue to get stronger and impress a lot of people in the future.”
The junior Podovelnikoff’will be taking the ESTR program while attending Thompson Rivers.
—With files from Thompson Rivers University