A talented young athlete from Oxbow has committed to play volleyball at the university level.
The University of Winnipeg Wesmen women’s volleyball team has announced that Cordelia Patton, a 6-foot-1 left side from Oxbow, is the first commitment to head coach Phil Hudson’s 2021 recruiting class.
She will enroll in kinesiology and applied health and have five years of eligibility.
Patton said she had a leadership role put upon her when she arrived at Oxbow Prairie Horizons School for her Grade 9 year. From that point on, she welcomed the role.
“I came in as the out-of-towner in Oxbow, but as I grew with them it was ‘You’re the biggest player on the court, so you need to take this step,’” Patton said. “Leadership has always been a thing for me the past four years.”
Patton said she was still being pursued by Brandon University and Trinity Western University as of September before giving her verbal commitment to the Wesmen in October.
She admitted she wasn’t sure what role the current pandemic would play on her ability to land a post-secondary playing opportunity.
Patton, who began sending videos and emails to coaches at the end of her Grade 11 season, said she started hearing back from coaches just as a crucial 2020 club season was getting set to start last spring.
Then COVID-19 hit.
“The end of my Grade 11 season was kind of my breakthrough year and … it was my goal by the end of December to have my highlight video made,” she said. “It was about a month into COVID that I started hearing back from everyone. It was very weird because when COVID hit we were supposed to be going to provincials in club, and I was supposed to go to Best of the West in Edmonton where universities would’ve been. So it was kind of like ‘Oh, I don’t get to do that either.’ That was really hard to get past.”
Patton’s Oxbow teams have medalled in Saskatchewan 3A provincials in each of her four years at the school, capped by a provincial title in 2019.
Patton has also competed for Oxbow’s Black Knights Volleyball Club and in the Sask Volleyball provincial program. She said her spike touch is now nine feet, nine inches, a three-inch increase from club season.
That length at the net is one of the things that caught Hudson’s eye.
“Cordelia is an excellent, all-around athlete who has a tremendous skill set,” the head coach said. “She plays the game well above the net and possesses a fast, powerful arm swing that will give her instant success at the U Sports level.”
Patton said she was impressed by the culture around Hudson’s program and said it gave her a feeling like being at home.
“I was really drawn to it because it sounded extremely similar to what I had for a team down here, which made it feel more like being at home. That was the first thing that clicked,” she said. “He (said) … ‘When you walk into the gym, you can’t tell who’s the fifth-years, who’s the fourth-years. Everyone mingles together, everyone looks after each other.’ And that’s all I wanted really.”