MEET THE MAVS

MEET THE MAVS

This Kidwell-sponsored content series highlights the unique stories of UNO student-athletes that have built a special connection to our city and community.

MEET THE MAVS

This Kidwell-sponsored content series highlights the unique stories of UNO student-athletes that have built a special connection to our city and community.

This series is brought to you by United Dairy Industry of Michigan.

When I was younger, I did not have much interest in exploring athletics.

My dad was a wrestler when he was in high school and watched his fair share of fishing competitions on television, but beyond that, sports were just not prevalent in our household.

So, naturally, the curiosity wasn’t there.

One day, however, when I was elementary-school age, my cousin Jake placed a basketball in my hand for the very first time. He taught me the basic fundamentals of the game and shared his love and passion for the sport.

Before you knew it, I was dribbling all over the driveway, putting up hundreds of jump shots each day, and without a doubt, was falling in love with the game.

The next level

From that day forward, basketball was always number one for me.
In fact, when I was in just the fourth grade, I decided that it was time to hang up the lacrosse cleats, store away the ballet slippers, and take this game of basketball to the next level of competition.

That summer, I did just that.

With the help of my parents, I joined the Nebraska Lasers basketball program and began traveling to tournaments and competitions across the region.

Looking back, that was one of the most impactful choices that I ever could have made for my development as a young player.

That organization gave me the opportunity to compete against some of the most talented basketball players in the area and instilled a sense of confidence in my ability that I never had before.

You see, during those games, I wasn’t just competing against the best of the best, but rather was outperforming and outdueling these skilled athletes.

So much so, in fact, that by the time my seventh-grade year rolled around, my name had emerged as one of the top young prospects in the state of Nebraska.

Everything was starting to fall into place, but high school was just around the corner and I was incredibly nervous.

Up to this point in my young career, the Lasers had been my basketball identity.

That was the program that I knew and loved, and I was apprehensive about integrating myself into a new system.

That was until I learned that Joel Haveman, one of my childhood idols, was returning to his hometown community and was set to serve the Weeping Water Community as the next Women’s Varsity Basketball Coach.

I was overcome with emotions of joy and excitement and could not wait to enter that next chapter of my life and learn from one of the individuals I had always admired most.

An easy decision

While I anticipated success in those years ahead, what I did not expect to witness was an entire community rally and place their full support behind a women’s basketball program.

More specifically, me.

In those high school days, I averaged 21.4 points per game, was named First Team All-State, and was a contributing member of the 2020-2021 DI State Championship Team.

I could not leave the house without someone from the community stopping me from wishing me luck in an upcoming contest, congratulating me on a recent accolade, or just letting me know that they were rooting for me.

I truly began to understand the power of a small-town community and the pride that they take in the members who reside within.

When the time came to make the college decision, I knew very well that I could not leave this town too far behind.

They loved and supported me from the very beginning and completely stood behind me as I began to emerge as one of the region’s top talents.

UNO was close to home and had shown interest in me from very early on in my career.

This was a school — and a group of coaches — who were completely and one hundred percent invested in me as an overall student-athlete and who truly cared about my success, in all aspects of my life.

So, honestly, the decision wasn’t really hard.

I instantly knew that this was where I’d belong.

UNO was close to home and had shown interest in me from very early on in my career. This was a school — and a group of coaches — who were completely and one hundred percent invested in me as an overall student-athlete and who truly cared about my success, in all aspects of my life.

Giving back

From the very first moment that I stepped on campus at UNO, I knew that I had made the right decision.

I had found my second home.

I have a group of teammates who I consider family and coaches and professors who care about my well-being, both on and off the floor.

I had the unique opportunity to contribute to this basketball program from very early on in my collegiate career. I was the third-leading scorer for our team as a freshman and shot nearly forty percent from the field in twenty-three games of play.

And now, as a sophomore, I plan to have an even bigger impact on this team, the university, and the Omaha community.

Much like my small hometown of Weeping Water, Nebraska, this close-knit community has rallied behind our basketball program and continues to support us both on and off the court.

It is now my mission to give back to an incredible city that has embraced my teammates and me from the very beginning.

Fortunately enough, UNO provides possibilities for us to do just that. Our team participates in read-aloud events at local elementary schools, volunteers to assist at libraries around the city, and even sets up meet-and-greet opportunities to allow residents the chance to come out and get to know all of us as individual members of this incredible community.

For now, the future beyond Omaha remains largely unknown.

I’d love the opportunity to play overseas or even professionally at some point in my life, but at this moment in time, I am simply enjoying my time as a UNO Maverick.

No doubt, I have found the perfect fit.