‘Renaissance man’ is ruthless on the court
Trinity Western’s volleyball star among the nominees for this year’s BLG Awards
Ryan Sclater is known at Trinity Western University every bit as much for his love of English literature as for his prowess on the volleyball court.
While many student athletes are consumed by their sport, Sclater is the poster child for living a balanced life. The 23-yearold from Port Coquitlam, B.C. is a devout Christian, loving husband, dedicated scholar and fantastic volleyball player — in that order.
The Canada West male athlete of the year is one of four male finalists — along with hockey player Philippe Maillet from the University of New Brunswick, football player Mathieu Betts of Laval University and soccer star Jonathan Lao of York University — for the 2016-17 BLG Award.
The winners of the male and female BLG Awards, honouring the top athletes in U Sports, will be announced May 1 at a ceremony in Calgary.
“For me, it’s always been a normal thing to be fully involved in both athletics and academics,” Sclater said Thursday. “That was always just something I assumed was normal, which I later found it wasn’t. I’ve learned a lot about having to pick to the things that are absolutely the most important and to commit to those things.”
When Sclater commits, he is all in. On the volleyball court, the six-foot-seven outside hitter led Trinity Western — based in Langley, B.C. — to a second consecutive national title. He finished fifth in the country in both kills (4.29) and points (5.0) per set, establishing single-season and career school records in both statistical categories.
“The scouting report is that he’s just a stone-cold killer, a point scorer,” Trinity Western head coach Ben Josephson said. “And he plays both left and right side, which is going to make him a really good professional volleyball player.”
Sclater excelled in basketball at Terry Fox Secondary School, which didn’t have a volleyball team. He led the hoops squad to a provincial title and was named the championship tournament’s most valuable player, all the while playing club volleyball.
“In the basketball world, people were pretty surprised that I was going to continue on with volleyball,” Sclater said. “At Terry Fox, basketball was pretty dominant. It was a football and basketball school. I thought about which sport I would be able to go farther with long-term. I knew I could probably play post-secondary for either one, but it was probably a long shot to make the NBA.”
With near-perfect grades, Sclater earned his English degree, won two volleyball championships and signed on for next season with a professional team in Germany. He is also on the radar of the Canadian national men’s volleyball team.
“He really is a renaissance
man,” Josephson said. “He’s not your typical jock or student athlete of today. He’s very much a student who is pretty good at sports.”
On road trips and in quiet moments before and after practice, Sclater could often be found reading the classic works of John Donne, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Geoffrey Chaucer.
“When I was three, my mom would read me this one book about Noah’s ark over and over again, and eventually I just memorized it,” he said. “I would turn the pages and read.”
That gave Sclater confidence to start putting the words together for real by age four or five.
“When you learn to read and remember what you read, then school just becomes easier than it is for other people,” said Sclater, who hopes to one day become an English professor.
Trinity Western University’s Ryan Sclater is one of four male finalists for the 2016-17 BLG Award, which will be announced May 1.