Wayne State College head women’s basketball coach Chris Kielsmeier, assistant coach Kelly Kielsmeier and senior players Paige Ballinger and Maggie Schulte will travel to Brazil next month and represent the United States as part of the USA D-2 Basketball Team Tour to Brazil.
Ballinger says she would of been on the team a year ago had it not been for an injury. “Yes I was very very excited when I found out that I was offered it actually again. I was offered it last year, but I decided to decline it because of my ankle injury, and I just felt like I wasn’t able to compete at my full capability. So I decided to just tell them I would love to do it again next year, and they decided to offer it to me again. So yes I’m very excited.”
The Tour begins on Monday and lasts through August 9th.
Ballinger says there’s more to the trip than just playing basketball. “I think we get to go see one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and go hiking, and take a train ride up on the mountains, and play also at the same time. So it’s not just the whole basketball schedule, but I get to travel and see all these amazing things that I don’t normally get to see here in Nebraska.”
The team is comprised of 10 Division II basketball players from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) and Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA), representing eight different colleges and seven states. Chris Kielsmeier will serve as head coach of the select team and assisted by Wildcat assistant coach Kelly Kielsmeier.
The team plays four games over a span of six days. The first two games are in Jundiai with the final two games in Rio de Janiero. The team will depart July 31 and fly to Orlando and Washington, D.C. before heading overseas to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Players and coaches will return to the states on August 9th.
While in Brazil, the team and coaches will also be involved in educational and social events on the trip that include visits to Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches, Sugar Loaf Mountain, the International Market in Ipanema and the Christ the Redeemer Statue along with venues that hosted the 2016 Summer Olympics last year.
Games will be played starting Wednesday, August 2 and Thursday, August 3rd in Jundiai with the final two games August 5th (Saturday) and 7th (Monday) in Rio de Janiero. More details about game times, opponent and location will be posted on www.wscwildcats.com. Daily blogs from Ballinger and Schulte will also be available on the Wildcats athletic website during the trip to share their experiences.
Wildcat head coach Chris Kielsmeier remarked, “This fall I will be starting my 20th season of coaching and throughout all of those years I have never had this kind of opportunity. It is such a great honor to coach this extremely talented team and represent Wayne State College and the United States. This will be a trip that we will all remember for the rest of our lives.”
USA Sports Tours and Events based in Lake Mary, Florida organizes and coordinates the games and events that the players and coaches will be involved with on the USA D-2 Basketball Brazil Tour.
“I’m really excited to be able to travel and play the game I love,” said Wildcat senior center Paige Ballinger. “Basketball has provided me with many awesome opportunities in my life and this is definitely at the top of the list. I can’t wait to share this experience with my coaches and friend/teammate.”
Wildcat senior forward Maggie Schulte said, “It’s an honor to be able to represent WSC and USA at an international level.” She added, “Basketball is one of my true passions, so having the opportunity to experience a different country at the same time adds to my excitement even more.”