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Champions of Character

 

Westmont Athletics is a proud participant in the NAIA Champions of Character program. Champions of Character provides training for student-athletes and professional development for coaches and staff. The values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership are put into play and accounted for at NAIA schools.

Reporting from Uganda – Part Two

Submitted by: Ron Smith - August 13th, 2015
Westmont Women's Basketball on the banks of the Nile

By Karlie Storkson

Day five was exciting because we were off to a new place! Our seven hour bus ride started off with the seniors grilling our Ugandan guide and all-around helper from Sports Outreach Institute (SOI), Sam (or ‘Swag-ticious Sam’ as his colleagues call him because he gets to hang out with the Americans on these types of trips). We learned some about the tribe system and that dating culture is different in Uganda. The ride progressed with some singing, bracelet making and deep conversations.

We also stopped and saw the Nile River on our long drive! It was breathtaking and we took millions of pictures.

When we were about 30 minutes away from our first stop in Gulu, our radiator broke down. We were stuck chilling on the side of the road. But we made the most of that time playing with some kids and sharing our reflections on the trip so far. Another bus came to the rescue and we then went to SOI’s farm.

Reporting from Uganda

Submitted by: Ron Smith - August 13th, 2015
Westmont Women's Basketball traveling in Uganda

By Karlie Storkson

Day three and four in Uganda have been as much of a whirlwind as the first two. We began day three doing morning devotions with all of the Sports Outreach Institute (SOI) staff before they headed off to their different projects. We really enjoyed the engaging time of fellowship and were able to hear about God from people with different cultural lenses.

After, we were able to head to Nateete to visit with children in the school there that is run by SOI. Lauren McCoy shared her testimony with the older kids and I (Karlie) shared the story of Jonah and the whale with some excellent actors helping me out. The kids then performed a traditional Ugandan dance for us. We then headed back to the hotel for lunch and to rest before our basketball game against the Ugandan National Team.

Our game was supposed to start at 4:00 p.m., but we got in a traffic jam (typical for Uganda) and we didn’t arrive at Lugogo Arena until 10 minutes after tip-off was supposed to be. But since this is Africa and we are on Africa time (which means everything is chill and or late) it was fine and we played the match. We ended up losing but it was a hard fought match. We went out to pizza dinner with the national team after and enjoyed hanging out and talking with them. We went to bed as soon as we got back to the hotel to rest up because we were going to play the same team again the next day.

A Win and a Word in Kampala

Submitted by: Ron Smith - August 11th, 2015
Basketball Clinic at the Kawempe slum project in Kampala.

Westmont Women’s Basketball found the going a bit easier today, both on the roads and on the court. After spending their morning putting on a basketball clinic in the Kawempe slum project, Westmont met the Ugandan National Team for another game. This time, the Warriors defeated the Gazelles 63-48.

“This morning our team set up stations for the kids to so learn basketball skills,” reported Moore via a text message. “After the clinic, they had a chance to share with the kids in small groups.”

Once the clinics were over, the team headed back to Lugogo Indoor Stadium for a rematch with the Gazelles.

“The team did a great job applying what we learned from yesterday’s loss so that we could achieve a different result tonight,” said Moore. “Krissy Karr was amazing. The crowd was oohing and awing every time she made another three or an amazing shot.

A Sunday in Kampala for Women’s Basketball

Submitted by: Ron Smith - August 9th, 2015
Westmont Women's Basketball at Sport Outreach International's Kampala Ministry Center standing on a basketball court that is under construction.

Sunday morning in Kampala brought Westmont Women’s Basketball team more opportunities to connect with the people of Uganda, and a chance to prepare for tomorrow’s game against the Ugandan National Team.

“This morning, we stood on the new basketball court being built by Sports Outreach International’s (SOI) Kampala Ministry Center and heard Robert Katende speak about their vision to house, educate and disciple kids from the slums out at this new site,” reported Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore.

Katende is known for starting a chess club for youth in Kampala; offering a bowl of porridge to any child who would show up and learn. One of those who did was Phiona Mutesi, a teenager from the Katwe slum. Under Katende’s guidance, Mutesi eventually became the Ugandan national chess champion and has represented Uganda at international tournaments. Her story has been told in “The Queen of Katwe” by Tim Crothers, and is the subject of a Disney film by the same name to be released next year.

While Mutesi story has garnered international attention, she represents just one of thousands of youth from the slums of Kampala and elsewhere that have been touched through the SOI ministries.

Warriors Introduce Dribbling to Kampala Youth

Submitted by: Ron Smith - August 8th, 2015
Kampala_4633

“Most of these kids have never touched a basketball before,” said Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore in a text message from Uganda, “but they have seen it on TV so they were excited to try it.”

Moore and the Westmont Women’s Basketball team are in Uganda for a 12-day mission trip, which includes outreach in Kampala and Gulu as well as playing against the Ugandan Women’s Basketball national team.

“We all arrived safely and already are working hard to share our joy of basketball and God,” said Moore. “This morning we did a basketball clinic with some of the children in the Bwaise project. They loved the dribbling games even on uneven dirt.”

Beyond the Court: Warriors Headed to Africa

Submitted by: Kaci Mexico - August 5th, 2015
UgandaShapeFlag

By Kaci Mexico

On Thursday, August 7 at 5:00 a.m. the Westmont Women’s Basketball team will be heading down to the Los Angeles International Airport to embark upon a highly anticipated mission trip to Uganda. For the next 12 days the women’s team will be working alongside the Sports Outreach Institute in Kampala and Gulu to minister to, serve, love, and play basketball with the people there.

The realization of this trip is the product of months of meticulous planning, relentless fundraising, countless meetings and persistent prayer.

“I am mostly just proud of our players for making this happen,” explains Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore. “It was their initiative from the beginning. It was their idea. When they came to me with the idea I said that’s awesome and I fully support it, but you guys have to make it happen… and they have.”

Two senior leaders on the team, Karlie Storkson and Lauren Sende, recalled the moment they realized that this trip was something that they wanted their team to experience. Sende explained, “We just kind of looked at each other and said, why don’t we just go? The soccer women had gone and we thought why can’t basketball women go?” (The women’s soccer team has gone on a mission trip through the Sports Outreach Institute every three years since 2006.)

Smith Named GSAC SID of the Year

Submitted by: Ron Smith - July 14th, 2015
Ron Smith

By Neil Morgan, Biola University Sports Information Director

Ron Smith from Westmont College has been named the Golden State Athletic Conference Sports Information Director of the Year. This is Smith’s first Sports Information of the Year award in the second year the GSAC has had such an award.

The SID of the Year award is based on a vote of the sports information directors working at each GSAC School. The winner is decided at the annual conference SID meeting held after the conclusion of the spring seasons.

Smith began his work at Westmont in July of 2004, becoming just the second full-time Sports Information Director in the college’s history. His responsibilities include media relations, website maintenance, video broadcast production, game management, statistical services, athletic publications, social media management and serving as the athletics historian.

“Ron is also a leader amongst the SIDs in the conference,” said GSAC Commissioner Mike Daniels. “He is a professional in every sense of the word and has the best interests of the conference’s student-athletes always in mind. He has been very giving of his time for conference events and has played an integral role in the conference website for many years.”

Smelley Honored as Coach of Character

Submitted by: Ron Smith - April 12th, 2015
Track & Field and Cross Country Head Coach Russell Smelley received the 2014 NAIA Coach of Character Award.

Westmont’s Russell Smelley was honored today as the 2015 NAIA Coach of Character award winner at the NAIA National Convention.

The NAIA Coach of Character award is given annually to an NAIA head coach who has embraced the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character program, demonstrated through sport and instilled a culture of community leadership through volunteering or service.

Since 1979, Smelley has served as the head coach of Westmont’s Track and Field and Cross Country teams.

As the Coach of Character recipient, Smelley was honored as “the epitome of the Coach of Character award; he believes that coaches have the unique opportunity to help develop the character and resilience of their athletes.”

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