When Roy Ching first looked at Brandon University, what he saw were the Bobcats.
“Initially, the chance to play volleyball at a high level was the big draw,” says the star setter, who was born in the Cook Islands and grew up in New Zealand. Previous New Zealanders who’d come to play at BU helped seal the deal.
“They only said good things about the city and the school,” Ching says. “It’s hard to turn that down.”
It turned out to be a great decision for the Bobcats. In 2015–16, his fourth season on the mens volleyball team, Ching led the nation in kills (408) and kills-per set (4.58), while serving as team captain. Ching also notched 20 or more kills in eight conference matches and his whopping 408 total kills smashed the school’s single season record, an impressive feat considering the Bobcats’ rich history of talented heavy hitters.
For his outstanding accomplishments, the New Zealander was named a Canada West all-star and a second-team All-Canadian, becoming the third Bobcat in the past four seasons to earn the highly regarded CIS award. In April, 2016, Ching was also named the men’s volleyball Most Valuable Player and earned overall Outstanding Male Athlete honours as the Bobcat male athlete of the year.
But Ching has evidently paid as much attention to his professors as he has to his coaches. The soft-spoken superstar athlete is also a superstar student, with his top grades earning him more than $12,000 in scholarships in his fourth year, including the Christopher Riley Memorial Scholarship for highest standing in third-year Geology.
Ching says that planning and time management were essential to his being able to perform at a high level both on the volleyball team and in his studies.
“You’re always busy, in the gym three hours a day, hitting weights,” he says. “I try to plan as far ahead as possible each semester. I still get stuck in last minute panics, but it could be a lot worse.”
Heading into his final year of Geology studies, Ching isn’t sure whether he’ll go on to graduate school or take a crack at playing volleyball overseas.
Eventually, he’s eyeing a career in geology, probably in the hard-rock mining industry, he says.
“For me, BU’s Geology Department has been very good. The science faculty was very supportive of being a student-athlete.”
Ching says that support from scholarships has been just as important as support from faculty and support from volleyball fans.
“It’s been hugely advantageous to me; one less thing to worry about,” he says. “I just go to school and apply myself. I like to work hard, and it’s good to get some recognition for that also.”