Dec. 21, 2018 – It’s another big holiday signing for the Lethbridge College Kodiaks men’s volleyball team.
After announcing the commitment of coveted recruit Nolan Moes yesterday, head coach Greg Gibos is proud to welcome another highly touted and local recruit to his program - CCH product Nash Shipton.
Shipton will join the Kodiaks next fall after graduating from Catholic Central in Lethbridge. Gibos says it’s always a priority to grow his program by looking for local talent.
“One of the biggest pillars of our program has been trying to grow the game organically and richly in Southern Alberta. Today marks an incredible achievement for a southern Alberta athlete, as well as for our program.”
Standing at 6’4, Gibos describes Shipton as a physical and intelligent setter.
“This is a game changer in the sense of the direction our program is heading” explains Gibos. “Nash is not only a phenomenal volleyball player, but his dedication to volleyball in Southern Alberta is indicative of the type of person he is. We are truly blessed that he has chosen to stay close to home and continue his volleyball journey with Lethbridge College.”
Shipton comes with an impressive volleyball pedigree and will join the Kodiaks in the 2019-20 season. He is also coming off a summer where he represented Alberta as their starting setter at the National Team Challenge Cup.
“It’s extremely difficult to make the provincial team, especially as a setter,” says Gibos, who is a former team Alberta coach. “Essentially, we are talking about adding one of the best, if not the best setter in the province. We are humbled that someone with Nash’s skill set and passion has chosen to represent Lethbridge College and the Kodiaks.”
Choosing to stay in Lethbridge
Shipton had several offers from competitive universities and other colleges in the province but chose Lethbridge College to follow his passion while being close to friends and family.
“I am beyond excited to play at Lethbridge College,” says Shipton. “I’m thrilled I can continue to make memories with a truly great group of guys. I can’t wait to play in front of my friends and family while wearing the Kodiaks jersey.”
Nash will be taking advantage of Lethbridge College's numerous university transferable courses. He will take a variety of psychology and liberal arts classes which will help him pursue a Bachelor of Psychology. Once completing his degree, Nash plans to persue an after-degree in education with the goal of becoming a teacher.
Kodiaks first year middle blocker Quinn Buchanan, who played with Shipton at Catholic Central, echoes the team’s excitement at having Nash commit to the program.
“Having Nash join the Kodiaks is going to be an amazing addition to our team,” raves Buchanan. “He is a selfless leader and I know he wants to win with this program. Personally we never knew if we’d be able to play together again and I’m so happy to be able to play together at the post-secondary level. He’s a great teammate and I can’t wait to see what this program can accomplish this year, and in the future.”
Buchanan and Shipton were both members of the LVC Junior Kodiaks U18 team that finished second at last year’s U18 Provincial Championship. Both Buchanan and Shipton were named as Volleyball Alberta Provincial all-stars at the event.
Shipton dedicated to growing the game
Shipton also enters the program as an athlete who has dedicated himself to growing the game at the local level. Nash has been a member of the LVC coaching staff for two seasons and continues to volunteer his time to help grow the game in the Southern Alberta.
“I know his impact in our practices and matches in the future is going to be significant,” says Gibos. “But one of the main traits that enticed us to Nash was his passion for growing the volleyball community in Southern Alberta. From our first conversations, Nash has talked about coaching and growing the game in Lethbridge and our surrounding community.”
“It brings me such great pride that our current group of athletes has inspired the next generation to continue to grow the sport in Lethbridge, and I know Nash has this desire as an athlete as well.”
Shipton has also been recognized within the Southern Alberta Volleyball circle. He has been named a SAHSVL all-star multiple times and took home the league’s MVP honour this season. As the starting setter for the Catholic Central Cougars, Shipton was able to lead the team to back-to-back 4A Zone Championships and top ten provincial placements.
“The young athletes in Southern Alberta look up to Nash and the fact he wants to stay home and continue to inspire the next generation really shows you the type of person he is,” says Gibos. “Nash is showing future athletes that Lethbridge College is a premier destination for talented volleyball players, and a great place to grow and develop. I know our current Kodiaks are sure excited he will be their teammate next season.”
Strong volleyball reputation growing in southern Alberta
Gibos says that athletes like Shipton are gaining southern Alberta increased exposure in volleyball circles, and a reputation for developing exceptional volleyball players.
“I think you are starting to see a movement within our province that southern Alberta athletes are truly great volleyball players. In the previous couple of cycles we haven’t had much representation at the provincial level. However, this year alone we had one junior national team player, two U17 athletes, and six invited to the U16 Provincial team tryouts.”
Gibos likes to believe that his current group of athletes has had an impact on the recent surge of success for southern Alberta athletes on the provincial stage.
“I know this is a direct relation to the time that several of our current Kodiaks athletes have given back to the community, and how they have welcomed these athletes to train with the college and show genuine interest in growing the sport in Southern Alberta,” says Gibos.
“Last weekend alone we had nine provincial team athletes at our ID camp which makes it an exciting time to be a Kodiak. Nash will continue this exciting relationship, and only better our sport on a grand scale.”
Gibos finished by stating “simply put, it’s a big deal for us to be able to sign an athlete as talented and driven as Nash. For us, it’s never just the volleyball side – we look for complete athletes. Nash truly cares about our program, and the athletes in it. I can’t say enough positive things about him, and I know his legacy in Southern Alberta is going to be truly great.”
“He’s a high-quality person, and I know he’s going to be a high-quality Kodiak.”
The current group of Kodiaks are off to a 12-0 start in ACAC conference play and will resume their season in the new year, hosting rival Medicine Hat on Thursday, Jan. 10.