Courtenay’s Brad Gunter has been selected to the junior national men’s volleyball team. The second-year outside hitter with the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack was named to the squad Tuesday after a five-day training camp at the National Training Centre in Gatineau, QC.
This is the first time in three years that a WolfPack player has made the junior national team. Colin Carson (setter, Prince George) did it in 2010.
“I had a sluggish start to the camp,” said Gunter a few hours after being named to the team. “I had a talk with Pat (Hennelly, head coach of the WolfPack) and settled down and started connecting with balls. I was nervous this morning going into meetings. It’s an awesome feeling to get the chance to represent our country.”
The 6’,5” outside hitter was one of two Thompson Rivers players attending the tryout camp. The other was third-year middle Nick Balazs (Prince George).
Hennelly was a guest coach at the tryout camp. “I am proud of both Brad and Nic,” he says. “Brad was cut last year and used it as motivation in the gym. He had a spike touch of 11’,7.5”. That was up four inches from last year. Credit goes to Jenn Joyce (WolfPack strength coach) and Mike Hawkins (TRU assistant coach) who were in charge of the majority of spring training.” TRU players worked out four times a week and lifted three times a week for the entire month of March and April.
Hennelly adds: “Brad started slow at this camp and really finished strong on the last day. I think Nic was in tough as one of the shortest middles but really had a strong showing, ending up in the top half of
middles statistically. I was really proud of how Nic did in tryouts with lots of talk and hustle.”
As for Gunter, the coach says: “Brad was named the top high school player in B.C. and is now in the top 14 players for his age group in all of Canada. He is really hitting the ball hard and continues to improve.
Brad is hard working and humble and has been a great addition to our program. Hopefully he will make his mark with Team Canada.”
Gunter appeared in 71 sets in 2012-13 with TRU, notching 263 kills, 163 digs,17 solo blocks and 3.99 points – all team highs. He also had 31 block assists and 12 service aces. Gunter’s 3.42 kills per game was 10th best in the Canada West and his 3.99 points per game was also good enough for 10th place in the Canada West overall standings.
Gunter and the junior national team will resume training June 24-July 4 in Gatineau before moving to Hamilton to finish training until July 12. The team will compete in the U-21 Pan Am Cup July 12-20 in Costa Rica.
The rest of the summer will see Team Junior Canada training in Hamilton from July 25 before leaving for Turkey and the World Junior Championships which go Aug. 22-Sept. 1.
“I am really looking forward to going to Turkey,” Gunter explains. “I have never been to Europe or that part of the world.”
– TRU WolfPack