You don’t know how good you’ve got it until it’s gone. There are things in our lives that are so good, it’s sometimes hard to say good-bye. Saying good-bye to something or someone that provided you with amazing experiences and amazing memories can strengthen you as a person. NAIT student athletes have been going through this particular situation for years as they look back fondly on their time spent in college.
Women’s basketball players Kika Greenlee and Katie Waring spoke recently about their time at NAIT.
When asked how they heard about NAIT, Greenlee replied, “I actually went to Fort McMurray. I went to Keyano so I played against NAIT. I just knew of them from playing in the ACAC.” Waring said she “actually played at a few schools before coming to NAIT. My best friend knew Todd [coach Warnick] quite well from when she was younger. We played together at Mount Royal and then he wanted her to come play for him … and he came and talked to me and that was kind of the start of everything.”
The NAIT women’s team finished the 2018 regular season with a record of 15-9. They possessed an 11-1 home record with a 4-8 away record, granting them the fourth seed in the ACAC North Division.
When asked what was the atmosphere at NAIT for her one year, Greenlee said, “It was amazing. It was everything I thought I was missing from all the previous colleges that I attended before. I was wondering what took me so long to get there.”
When Waring was asked why she thought her team didn’t play so well in away games during the regular season, she said: “It’s different playing on the road. Some gyms are a little bit hostile and you’re shooting in a different gym that you might have shot in before, (and) every rim is a little bit different, I think. But it was more of a mental thing than anything else.”
When asked if the coaches were serious, strict or somewhat reasonable, Greenlee said “they’re all of these things.
They’re serious when they need to be, they’re strict when they need to be and they’re fun and reasonable when they should be. It’s like a family aspect. They’re mad at you when they should be and they praise you when they should as well. All love from all the coaches; they all put their all into it.”
When asked what’s the most memorable practice she’s had here, Waring said, “the one that probably stands out the most would be our first practice right before nationals last year.”
The team was “just gearing up, getting ready to host nationals. It was just super exciting and you could tell that everybody was focused and ready to go.”
This year’s Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Championship was held at SAIT in Calgary from March 1-3.
NAIT lost its first game to SAIT 68-65, won the next over Concordia 72-65 and lost their last bout to Olds 78-54.
Waring said the playoff result was “a little disappointing. Just the fact that we have won both of the games (against SAIT) going in so we were feeling decently confident but unfortunately we were playing them in their home gym. Their shots were falling and ours just weren’t and I think by the third game we were pretty tired and we were just going out there mostly just to finish the season on a high note.”
What’s the best part of their games, Greenlee said, “My ability to get to the basket. I just think it’s just something that’s going to happen when I get the ball so I think it’s the strongest part of my game.”
Waring said, “I think that I see the floor pretty well. As a point guard that’s just kind of what you’re taught to do. Mostly just to pass the ball so I think that’s probably one of the highlights of what I do.
Greenlee said her biggest inspiration has been her mother.
Waring isn’t able to pin down her biggest inspiration. “Well, of course, families always were a big one. They’ve always been there always pushing me to do better so I always wanted to make them proud. I’ve had some amazing coaches when I was younger that really helped me keep going and helped me find the love for the game. Teammates along the way. I can’t really pin point one solo inspiration for you.”
When they were asked what they planned to do after NAIT, Greenlee says she wants to take a couple of summer courses at NAIT and would like to investigate playing basketball overseas.
“It would just be nice to do it all over again somewhere new again. I think it would be fun and a really cool experience.”
Waring said she still has one more year of school and plans to “take a little bit of a break from the sport and focus on other things. Just stay active and then maybe I’ll find my way back into the sport at some point.”
– Teagan Giselbrecht