Weber State Wildcats come calling for Wilms
Swift Current’s Briana Wilms will be taking her game south of the border next season after receiving a full volleyball scholarship at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.
TheWeber StateWildcats are a NCAA Division I school and compete in the nine-team Big Sky Conference.
Wilms, a 6’2 four-year member of the Swift Current Comprehensive High School Senior Ardens volleyball team, was identified at a prospects camp in Assiniboia last February after which she got a call-back invitation for a follow up camp in June.
The camp was attended by approximately 50 post secondary institutions of varying levels from the United States and Canada and eventually Wilms received a number of letters and information packages from interested schools.
After careful considerationWilms narrowed the list down and visited a pair of them with her parents over the summer.
“I had picked three top schools that I was going to research completely,” said Wilms. “Missoula Montana, was one of them, Weber State was another, and El Paso wasmy third school. So I went down to the ones that were close enough to drive to in the summer and checked them out. El Paso I decided not to go because it was too far away.”
Eventually Wilms settled on Weber State which is ‘only’ a 16 hour drive from Swift Current.
“There are three girls from Saskatchewan on this team and the coach was a good suit for me,” she explained.
This past season the Wildcats finished fifth in the Big Sky Conference regular season with a 9-7 record and finished 21-13 overall. Wilms admitted that she has been keeping tabs on her future team for a while now.
“I have been watching them during the season and they have been doing well. They are losing a big middle position player, Brittney Bisaillon, she is a phenomenal volleyball player and there are going to be big shoes to fill there because I am going down there as a middle as well. Other than that they have a great group of girls and a great coach.”
Wilms has also been a standout basketball player for the Ardens and played a pivotal role in three straight 4A Hoopla medals including provincial championships in 2007 and this past March. She sounds confident though that volleyball is the right choice for her.
“I have enjoyed myself in basketball so much especially with two wins at Hoopla and a bronze medal. Our basketball teams have been so close and have had such awesome friendships on the team. So it has been a lot of fun playing basketball and I am definitely going to miss it. Volleyball was just chosen because there was a lot more opportunity for me in volleyball with this camp and the coaches kind of came to me so I didn’t have to do a lot of the work whereas basketball would have been a lot tougher to get a decent scholarship.”
Wilms, who has played for the provincial volleyball team for the past two seasons, will have some time to adjust to many changes in her life as she will likely redshirt for the Wildcats next season.
“As far as I know the coach and I have discussed that I am going to red shirt next year and then have the next four years for playing. For me I think that is awesome because it is going to be a big transition, I am going to miss my family unbelievably so it is going to be tough enough as it is. And to get into university classes is going to be a big change. So the red shirting thing for me is going to be awesome. I think I have got a long ways to go yet in volleyball, so to be able to practice with the girls and get used to it is going to be good enough for me for the first year and then hopefully catch on after that.”
Academically Wilms hopes to study business, majoring in finance or accounting, but for the first couple of years will be in general studies as mandated by the university.
She will also be living in the student residence building for her first two years, the buildings were actually built for the Salt Lake City Olympics and were used as the Athletes Villages for the skiers.
For fun – well she points out that, “Las Vegas is only seven hours laugh.
Wilms and the Ardens qualified for provincials only once in her four years, during her grade nine season. Despite the lack of positive results she said she enjoyed her time in the program.
“We had great coaches, maybe commitments, or I don’t know what it was that we didn’t make it but that is fine we still learned the skills we needed to and we had fun playing.”
Wilms gratefully acknowledged a few coaches who helped her out along the way including Ken Yee, Scott Mayall, her coach at FairviewMiddle School, and Ardens’ coaches BrentMillar and Heather Striker.
Wilms will be down in Ogden to begin training in the first week of August with school starting later that month.
“It is scary knowing that I am going to be as far away from home as I am. But it is nice to know that we play at two different universities in Montana so it is an easier drive and a little closer for Mom and Dad to come and see me. I am definitely going to miss my older sisters a lot because we have a very close family. It is going to be tough moving away from home but I think that with those girls from Saskatchewan it will be a bit easier connection with home and be able to talk about it.”
Wilms will certainly be leaving some of Saskatchewan’s cool fall volleyball weather behind her, one of the Wildcats first tournaments will be played in Honolulu, Hawaii in early September.