The Kansas State basketball team took its first steps toward a conference championship during a trip to Brazil last summer
K-State volleyball coach Suzie Fritz hopes a trip to Kazan, Russia, where the Wildcats will represent the United States at the World University Games, provides the same spark for her team in July.
“We get an opportunity to get some extra time together, which, I think is a huge benefit,” Fritz said, “just in preparation for the fall and in our ability to continue to develop relationships with our athletes and for our athletes to develop relationships with each other.”
K-State announced the volleyball trip at a news conference Tuesday inside Bramlage Coliseum. Athletics director John Currie said a few schools were approached about representing Team USA at the event.
Fritz didn’t need to be convinced past the first phone call.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us,” Fritz said. “We get to pack up our team and we get to go halfway around the world and represent our country. It’s something that, as an athlete, you don’t have very many opportunities to do. It’s a very special opportunity and one we take great pride in.”
The World University Games will be held from July 6-17, with athletes ranging from ages 18-27. More than 170 nations were represented in the World University Games in 2011.
K-State players said they were excited about the event on Tuesday. Dakota Kaufman may appreciate the opportunity most. The outside hitter’s family lived in Kazan before moving to the United States.
“Once I put the jersey on, that’s when I think I’ll realize that I’m representing USA,” she said. “And that is so huge, just to be able to be a part of something like that is so huge. I’m looking forward to going over there and seeing the culture and spending time in the village and being around some of the top athletes in the world.”