The Laramie County Community College women’s basketball team is in its second season since being reintroduced last year, and four sophomores this year are the first players to finish their community college careers with the new program.
Darian Hale, Madison Hamm, Katelyn Smith and Caylin Arnold are the four sophomores who will depart after this year.
All four felt some historical pressure when signing to play at LCCC. The 2016-18 team was the first women’s basketball team at LCCC in 25 years.
“I really wanted to be a part of a new program and start something new. The historical aspect was really cool,” Hale (Briggsdale, Colorado) said.
The Golden Eagles snapped their six-game losing streak with a win at Otero Junior College on Feb. 24. Already improving drastically from last year, this year’s team has a 15-15 record versus last years 11-17 mark thanks to the growth of these sophomores.
Hamm (Fort Collins, Colorado), who is averaging 10 points per game this year, found the transition into a new program troubling at first.
“I was excited to start a new program and be a part of something,” Hamm said. “But it was hard having a lot of freedom and living on your own at first, while learning how to manage classes and basketball.”
Arnold, (Strasburg, Colorado), who was a last-minute signee with LCCC, was intrigued by the historical aspect of the team and had family ties to the college.
“Both of my parents came to LCCC,” Arnold said. “I knew a lot about the school from them, and when my parents went here that was the last year the women’s team was here, so that was cool for me.”
For Arnold, the transition from high school to college basketball wasn’t exactly what she expected.
“The pace of the game and the physicality of it is different from high school as well as the skill level of everyone, and trying to fit that into the academics was the hardest part for me,” Arnold said.
The Golden Eagles, who have one regular season game left on March 2, will look to finish out the season strong, and the sophomores will be looking to move on in their academic careers as well as basketball.
Hamm, whose sister Myanne plays at Colorado State, said she hopes to play at another level next year, and she is still looking at schools.
Hale, who is hoping to attend pharmacy school in the near future, doesn’t know if basketball will be in her future.
“I am a human biology major at the moment doing my pre-requisites and don’t know if I will be able to commit to the game of basketball while attending pharmacy school or other classes,” Hale said.
Smith (Loveland, Colorado) said she has hopes to pursue basketball next year.
“I am going to try, I have talked to a few different schools, and I am excited to see what happens,” Smith said.
Arnold said she is still looking at her options for the future.