Ryan Lit­tle­john set to spike at na­tion­als

Ryan Lit­tle­john set to suit up for Clarenville team in On­tario

The Compass - - Front Page - BY CHRIS LEWIS edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Ryan Lit­tle­john has proven his ca­pa­bil­i­ties as a young vol­ley­baller in a few unique set­tings. Now the Co­ley’s Point res­i­dent is gear­ing up to com­pete with a team based in Clarenville at a na­tional com­pe­ti­tion in Water­loo, Ont. The 15-year-old is look­ing for­ward to gain­ing more ex­pe­ri­ence on the hard­court.

Ryan Lit­tle­john, a Grade 10 stu­dent at As­cen­sion Col­le­giate, has an ex­cit­ing few months com­ing up in his vol­ley­ball ca­reer.

Lit­tle­john has been play­ing vol­ley­ball since the sum­mer lead­ing into Grade 9, where he made the se­lec­tion camp for the pro­vin­cial team.

He didn’t make the pro­vin­cial team that year, but that only drove the 15-year-old to push him­self harder the fol­low­ing year.

This lead to Lit­tle­john be­ing nom­i­nated as male ath­lete of the year by the NLBA, and an email fol­low­ing the nom­i­na­tion an­nounce­ment telling him he made the team.

“That was a re­ally big ac­com­plish­ment for me,” said Lit­tle­john. “I was re­ally ex­cited. I never thought I’d ever do as good as I did.”

Lit­tle­john, who was 14 at the time, was se­lected as cap­tain of the team, who went on to win gold in the tier 1 tour­na­ment, nam­ing them the top team in At­lantic Canada.

Lit­tle­john’s love of vol­ley­ball had him look­ing to Clarenville, since his home­town of Bay Roberts didn’t have much to of­fer com­pet­i­tively when it comes to his sport of choice.

De­spite not be­ing from the area, Lit­tle­john was able to at­tend try­outs, and is now play­ing for The Im­pact as a set­ter. The team is com­pet­ing at na­tion­als May 4-7 in Water­loo, Ont.

At this point, vol­ley­ball has be­come a ma­jor part of the Lit­tle­john fam­ily’s life. Ryan’s fa­ther used to play the sport, and his brother, who is in Grade 6, has just re­cently started play­ing as well.

“My fam­ily’s life seems to re­volve around my vol­ley­ball sched­ule,” said Lit­tle­john with a chuckle. “Some­times I have four to five prac­tices a week. We even plan our va­ca­tions around it. We like to go to New Brunswick in the sum­mer, so my mom’s try­ing to plan around that this time as well.”

Vol­ley­ball is not the only sport Lit­tle­john plays. He’s also on the school’s badminton team, though he said he looks at badminton as a good way to prac­tice for vol­ley­ball.

“Badminton re­quires the same kind of skills as vol­ley­ball — speed and agility mostly,” he said. “So I use badminton as an ex­tra chance to train for vol­ley­ball.”

Lit­tle­john says that get­ting to play a na­tional tour­na­ment has al­ways been a dream of his, hav­ing only played in At­lantic tour­na­ments up un­til now.

Lit­tle­john has been watch­ing a spe­cific club on YouTube, who he may have a chance to play against if sched­ules align. The club, known as Pak­men, is from On­tario and of­fers vol­ley­ball pro­grams for ages six to 18.

“That’s pretty cool to think about,” he said.

“I watch those guys on YouTube to see how I can im­prove, and now I might get the chance to play against them. It’s ex­cit­ing.”

To add to the list of ex­cite­ment over the next month, Lit­tle­john has been in con­tact with Dan Ota, coach of the Dal­housie Univer­sity vol­ley­ball team. Lit­tle­john told The Com­pass that the Dal­housie Tigers have al­ways been his favourite univer­sity team and, de­spite not win­ning these past two years, he’s al­ways looked up to them. Ota ex­plained to Lit­tle­john how he picks play­ers for his team, say­ing that he looks for peo­ple who show great po­ten­tial.

With this in mind, Lit­tle­john said he’d be push­ing him­self as much as he can to do his best dur­ing na­tion­als.

“My fam­ily’s life seems to re­volve around my vol­ley­ball sched­ule.” Ryan Lit­tle­john

PACKET FILE PHOTO

The Eastern Im­pact 16U male vol­ley­ball club team (front, from left) man­ager Brian Avery, Isaac Avery, Lu­cas Ef­ford, Cole Mackey, Tyler Green, Jody Ja­cobs, and di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions Ian Mackey; (back) coach Jakob Walsh, Nick Dawe, Lu­cas Collins, Noah Moul­ton, Max Stoyles, Taran Leonard, Ryan Lit­tle­john, Reilly Adams, coach Matt Green and coach Glen Moul­ton.

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

Ryan Lit­tle­john in ac­tion at the 2016 Sum­mer Games play­ing beach vol­ley­ball.

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