By Jadon Frank
Calgary’s Keaton Strom brings a versatile game to the Briercrest men’s volleyball team for the 2013-14 season.
Briercrest head coach Nigel Mullan is very excited that Strom committed to Briercrest for the 2013-14 season.
“I am very excited to be adding Keaton to our program,” Mullan said. “Keaton had many different options for his post-secondary option, but decided to come be a part of what we are trying to do at Briercrest and further develop his faith at the same time.”
Strom, who will graduate from Calgary’s Centennial High School this June, played on the Centennial Coyotes volleyball team all three years of high school as well as on the basketball team for Grades 10 and 11.
Strom only recently began playing club volleyball, but has experienced success.
“I only started playing club volleyball in Grade 11 after the school season,” the six-foot-five Strom said. “I played for the 403 Selects club in Calgary. I have played almost all positions; right side, middle, left side, and setter. So far my favorite moment was winning the Division 2 national championships this year.”
Ryan Marsden coached Strom on the 403 Selects and quickly took notice of Strom’s natural ability.
“My first impression was that he was a big body,” Marsden said. “When a coach sees a big body, his brain starts to go thinking about all of the possibilities.”
“Keaton is a gamer,” Marsden continued. “He lives for the opposition on the other side of the net and a referee on the stand. We always could count on Keaton this year when it came to games. He struggled a little at the beginning of the year in understanding the direction that we wanted to go, but once he figured that out and that he could help us get there, the transformation was amazing! As a person, Keaton was raised in a very good, loving, home. His family has strong roots in the Christian faith and I saw Keaton representing that on an everyday basis.”
Mullan sees great potential in Strom.
“He is going to be an impact player for us during his time here at Briercrest,” Mullan said. “I think he has the physical stature and athletic ability to give us another strong option as we continue building the momentum that has been built the last number of years.”
Marsden enjoyed watching Strom blossom this past season.
“His biggest strength is his size and willingness to play wherever the coach needs him for the team to be successful,” Marsden said. “He puts up a very big block and will give opponents a lot to think about. He started out as a middle with our club team and eventually we moved him to the right side. It was here where he made his statement as being one of the best.”
Strom’s former coach feels that Briercrest is a great fit for his star right side.
“As he learns more and grows more under coach Nigel Mullan, he will blossom into something very special,” Marsden said. “There are not a lot of coaches out there that I think are right for Keaton, but Nigel is the perfect one! I expect Keaton to feel really comfortable with the atmosphere there. Being around others in the same faith is important for his continued development as a human being.”
Mullan was impressed with Strom’s desire and reason to attend Briercrest.
“Awesome to see a player today wanting to have his academics, his athletics, and his faith/character developed all at the same time,” Mullan explained. “That all areas mattered to him was really significant in our recruiting process.”
Strom will be studying Biblical Studies at Briercrest this fall and is looking forward to the unique Briercrest experience.
“I'm looking most forward to mainly the college volleyball team experience,” Strom said. “But, also the small town college community, I've heard the community is really good.”
Marsden points to Strom’s family as being influential in Strom’s development.
“His family is very supportive and understands sport,” Marsden said. “Keaton has a sister (Holly) who plays basketball at Trinity Western University. I wish Keaton the best of luck at Briercrest as well as the team and program. I look forward to seeing his continued growth and am excited to see what level he gets to under the principles and teachings of Nigel and company.”
2013-14 Briercrest College Men’s Volleyball Recruiting Class
Keaton Strom • 6-5 • 1st • Calgary, AB/Centennial High School/403 Selects Club
Luke Rafuse • 5-9 • 1st • Caron, SK/Caronport High School
Jonathan Phillips • 6-2 • 1st • Caron, SK/Central High School/Moose Jaw Element Panthers