Brooke Huculak was a three-time AA provincials MVP. (FILE PHOTO)
Brooke Huculak had a brief panic attack when she realized her plans to attend Lakehead University wouldn’t work.
The 18-year-old outside hitter from Elton Collegiate was very close to committing to playing in the CIS for the Thunderwolves women’s volleyball team when she learned the university didn’t offer the classes she was hoping to take. Then, the three-time provincial AA high school girls volleyball championship tournament MVP realized Brandon University offered the classes she was interested in and sent an email to Bobcats head Lee Carter asking if he had any openings left on the roster. Carter said he did and Huculak has now verbally committed to join the team next season.
"It was so late in the recruiting season that I thought I was screwed," said Huculak, who will be studying criminal justice and hopes to eventually get into a law program. "Everyone has a full team and they thought I was going away and I already turned them down. … It happened really fast. Lee was really good with it and I was very thankful for that opportunity."
Huculak becomes the Bobcats’ sixth recruit this season, along with Brandon’s Mary Thomson, Jodie Baker and Gillian Leech, Russell’s Jasmine Lafournaise and Winnipeg’s Kendra Bommersbach.
The 5-foot-10 Huculak is very familiar with most of the Bobcats’ other recruits since they played club volleyball together on the 18U Storm. That has Huculak thinking she’ll be right at home with the rest of the team in the fall.
"Obviously with how many people I know on the team — and then halfway through the season we started practising with the Bobcats — I’m already familiar with the team," she said. "So it won’t be too hard of a transition."
One experience Huculak won’t have is moving far away from her family’s farm near Douglas. She hoped to do that by going to university, but her commitment to the Bobcats has changed those plans for now.
Huculak, however, does feel much more relaxed and relieved now that she’s finally committed to a school.
"It just doesn’t seem as crazy as when I was mentally preparing for going away because I don’t have to figure out ‘I have to do this before I go here and I have to get my dorm and everything,’" she said. "I’m a lot more relaxed knowing I’ll have the comfort of home and a lot of support."
Huculak doesn’t expect to make an immediate impact with the Bobcats, but she thinks she’ll improve a lot with the team and can play a big role in a few years.
"I really feel like I can definitely add my piece," she said. "I know I’m not the biggest and I can’t jump the highest, but I feel like my skills will be beneficial to the team. Not necessarily right off the bat, but after practising at that university level, I can only imagine I’m going to improve a great amount and I’m looking forward to that."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 26, 2012