Creighton’s Tyler Williamson enjoys the feeling of satisfaction he gets from making a big block for the Lakeland College men’s volleyball team.
“I am a competitive person and when you shut down another player, that is just satisfying,” the middle blocker said. “Yes, I am proud, but mostly I am satisfied that we got that point.”
The 6-foot-5-inch Williamson was a force in the middle for the Lloydminster-based school team this winter. He was named to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference All-Conference Team.
“This was a huge honour to be recognized and proves that hard work and dedication pays off,” Williamson said. “I am in the gym four to six hours a day. We train hard and to be chosen motivates me to continue to get better. It was a huge honour and one that I feel is necessary to share with my teammates and coach. I don’t succeed alone.”
Williamson posted team highs of 0.70 blocks per set and 62 total blocks in 24 matches.
“Tyler has worked tirelessly to become a more dynamic blocker,” Rustlers head coach Taylor Dyer said. “His effectiveness stems from his ability to understand a game plan and execute that game plan. His speed to the outsides has also drastically improved and, obviously, his height above the net has also helped him excel as a middle blocker.”
Williamson is also an effective offensive weapon for the Rustlers. He was third on the team with 2.6 points per set and fourth in kills per set with 1.76. Dyer said Williamson has bought into how the team runs its offence.
As a third-year player, Williamson is a leader by example for the Lakeland College team.
“He works super hard in the weight room and in our training,” Dyer said. “He’s been a quiet leader up until now, but is definitely becoming more vocal and truly has bought into the culture we are trying to build here.”
Williamson greatly enjoys life on and off the court at Lakeland College. He said the best part of playing for the Rustlers is the friendships he has made.
“My teammates are some of the best people that I have ever met and they have made me be a better person,” Williamson said. “Playing for the Rustlers has enabled me to get a good education while doing something I love with people that are as close as family. I am challenged every day to excel, both physically and academically.”
After college, Williamson wants to be an RCMP officer. He said the school’s university transfer program of study allows him to take different classes that will help him be a well-rounded officer.
Growing up, Williamson loved playing hockey and what belonging to a team meant. In Grade 9, there were not enough players to ice a team, so his parents encouraged him to try other sports. He joined volleyball and basketball. He was not tall, but his Creighton Community School coaches Erik Nasselquist and Ian Clark recognized that he might grow some so they put him at the middle position.
“I never played junior high basketball or volleyball, so I was green,” Williamson said. “I wasn’t a great basketball player. Body checking wasn’t allowed. But volleyball seemed to be a sport that I was good at.”
He praised the value of sports in school. In Grade 12, he drove every weekend to Saskatoon to play club volleyball with the University of Saskatchewan program. As well as a six-hour drive each way, it took commitment and sacrifice for many reasons, including having to keep good grades to be able to play. Williamson loved the sport and wanted to earn a scholarship, which he did.
“I continue to play volleyball because of the fantastic opportunity I have at Lakeland with my scholarship, but also my teammates. I don’t know if it would be the same experience without them. Volleyball is something I will always play I think, whether it be competitive or recreation. One day I could see myself coaching a high school team in whatever community that I am placed when I get into the RCMP,” he said.
“My coaches in high school were some of the first people to recognize that I had potential. I thought I could go places playing hockey and they knew I could go places playing volleyball. My college sees the same potential. That sort of mentorship should be recognized and is why I stay involved now and in the future in whatever capacity I can.”