ST. JOHN’S — Cohen Chaulk hopes he will be the first music student at Memorial University of Newfoundland to crack the roster of a varsity sports team.
The 18-year-old former Corner Brook High volleyball star will be trying to earn one of the 21 roster spots up for grabs when the Memorial Sea-Hawks men’s volleyball team holds an open tryout Friday at the Field House.
“Going into the program I have experience with the team. We had a few recruitment camps where I got to see some of the other guys so hopefully I fit into the roster well and play my role if I need to,” Chaulk said from St. John’s Wednesday afternoon.
Chaulk’s introduction to the Sea-Hawks men’s volleyball program actually occurred last year when he took advantage of an opportunity to get an inside look at how things go with the program. Sea-Hawks coach Luke Harris, who had Chaulk on his radar for a couple of years as he starred on the provincial high school scene, asked Chaulk to assist him with various tasks associated with running the team to give him a better understanding of what’s involved with the program and what is expected of the athletes who wear the Sea-Hawks crest.
Chaulk jumped at the chance to join Harris and eventually decided last fall to attend Level 3 classes at Holy Spirit High in Conception Bay South where he lived with his aunt and uncle.
Spending so much time immersed in the program with coach Harris teaching him the ropes was an awesome experience for the son of Todd and Libby Chaulk of Corner Brook. He believes his experience working with coach Harris gave him a better understanding how things are run and the kind of competition he can expect to play against at the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) level.
“I got to go in and see how practices run, what is expected of us at all times,” he said. “See what level of play I have to bring to practice every day and see what he had to do outside of volleyball and academics to stay involved with the program.”
He has every intention of giving it his best shot at a two-hour session for hopefuls that will include fitness testing.
Chaulk created havoc for opposing teams as a talented setter all his life, but this past summer he found himself in unchartered waters when he was asked to take on a power role as a left side for the 2013 Canada Summer Games team representing Newfoundland and Labrador in Sherbrooke, Que. He said the switch has been a challenging learning experience, but he feels good about the amount of training he received with the Games team as he got more immersed in the tactical and technical side of his new position.
“I think I’m starting to get the hang of it and by the time the season starts it will definitely come around,” he said.
Chaulk will be all business on the hardcourt and hopes he’ll do enough to impress the coaching staff.
When he’s not on the basketball court you can count on him trying to perfect something else dear to his heart.
He wants to be the best piano player he can be and is thankful for the opportunity afforded him.