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10 SECONDS With Kayla Wyland

By Justin Siewierski; Editor-in-Chief
On February 10, 2016

10 SECONDS With Kayla Wyland

Justin Siewierski

Saturday mornings, I’m usually inside Foley Gymnasium around 10. I bring my equipment upstairs to the press box, unpack, and get set up. I see women’s volleyball coach Chris Kilmer, who’s usually pacing around and getting ready for another day, chock full of Plymouth athletics. Our topic of conversation starts with what we think of every team playing that day, and it always falls on his former player, and current women’s forward Kayla Wyland.

Wyland, the junior elementary education major from Melrose, Massachusetts, is one of many two-sport athletes at Plymouth State. Listed at 5’11,” Wyland makes a perfect fit on the court in both sports, opposite hitter in volleyball and forward in basketball. This basketball season, however, is where she’s stood out the most.

Wyland currently averages 9.6 PPG and just under 7 RPG, and has posted four double-doubles this season for the Lady Panthers. She averaged 16 points per game in December, and in her most recent game against Norwich, posted 18 points including 12 from the free throw line.

“[Kayla] brings us a strong presence in the post,” said first year head coach Allison Flynn. “She is a great teammate, extremely coachable and always smiling. Kayla strives to get better every single day.”

As the team enters the back stretch of the season, I had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with Kayla Wyland, for this week’s installment of :10 Seconds.

When did you start playing basketball?

I started playing basketball when I was 6 years old. I was in a recreational league for my city with my dad as my coach. He always had me dribbling around the house. I started playing for a travel league for the YMCA when I was in 5th grade and proceeded to play AAU basketball competitively when I was in 7th grade.

How would you describe your teammates?

My team is extremely close and think of them as a second family. We are always around each other, whether it's on the court or hanging out together outside of basketball. We are always laughing and have way too many inside jokes. I love every single one of them and as so thankful to be on their team. As a whole, this team is the hardest working players I know.

What's one problem that you've had to face on the court so far this season?

There are many different challenges that I face on the court, however there are a couple that stand out to me. One struggle of mine that I have to overcome every year is the transition from volleyball to basketball because the basketball team has already been practicing for a month. As exciting as it is to start my basketball season, the first week is filled with learning all the new plays, getting into basketball shape, and becoming the part of the team's chemistry. I also struggle with fouling too much on the court, and being weak with my right hand. These are two things that I need to work on in order to improve my overall game.

Do you find it difficult being a two-sport college athlete?

Being a two-sport athlete is both very rewarding as well as challenging. I love both of the sports I play and the people I have met because of them. Being an athlete has helped me be a successful student. I am extremely competitive so playing two sports allows me to compete throughout the year. Playing two sports back to back seasons is physically challenging but also helps keep me in shape. I am so grateful to have become so close with the amazing Athletic Department here at Plymouth. Playing two sports at Plymouth State has made me who I am today and I would not change it for anything!

What's been your favorite memory at PSU so far?

This question was very difficult for me to answer because I have so many great memories within my experience at PSU. One moment that stands out to me every year is the first week of volleyball preseason. It is so exciting to be back together with all of my teammates and to get back on the court after the long summer. Another favorite memory is my first game of basketball, playing for Plymouth. It was so exciting getting back on the court after not playing my freshman year of college. This is one of the best decisions I have made. I also am so thankful for meeting all of my friends here and there are way too many memorize with them to list.

“She is a great teammate, extremely coachable and always smiling. Kayla strives to get better every single day.”

Who's your biggest role model?

My biggest role models are my mom, dad, and sister. My family has guided me through life and has made me the person I am today. They have taught me how to be a good person and I aspire to be just like them as I go through life. I love that I get to see them almost every week when they come support me at my games. I cannot thank them enough for all that they do for me.

Favorite thing about Plymouth?

My favorite thing about Plymouth is the strong sense of community. It is amazing how quickly it became a home away from home for me. You can't walk through campus without someone smiling at you. The coaches, students, professors, and administration are all so kind and were more than welcoming from the first day of my experience. It is exciting to see professors and other workers throughout the school come to cheer on the students at games. I feel so lucky to be a part of such a tight knit community.

What's your pre-game routine?

I am an extremely superstitious person. Before games I have many small things that I do, such as having to put on my left shoe before my right, making my last shot before the game begins, and sitting in the same spot in the locker room. Something that I do before every volleyball and basketball game is listen to a version of the "War of Inches" speech by Al Pacino. It gets my mindset read to play the game. Our team does a few things before every game as well. We will always blast music in the locker room at home and away games to get pumped up. Also, every game before we run out, Madison Beatrice will stand in the middle of our team huddle and lead us in a chant. The last thing we do before the game begins is kneel in a circle and everyone hits the floor and yells until Savannah Miller counts down and we all yell "STATE!" It always pumps us up and gets us ready to play!

If you had to pick, which sport is your favorite? Volleyball or basketball?

I honestly can't choose a favorite between volleyball and basketball. Whichever season I am in, is my favorite at the time. However, I love the physical play and hustle in basketball as well as the power and technicalities of volleyball. The two sports are so different and I get a lot of enjoyment from each of them in different ways. I am very thankful that I have the opportunity to play the two sports I love for the college that I love.

What do you think needs to happen for your team to turn things around down the stretch?

As I stated earlier, my team is filled with some of the hardest workers I know. We have already made so many strides from the beginning of the season and we are continuing to grow every day. We need to keep staying positive and working hard. Every team has room for improvement and I think our team needs to work on our consistency. An issue we face is playing our best basketball for the full 40 minutes of the game, once we overcome this we will be even more of a threat in the LECs. Our team has so much potential and I know that soon the wins will follow.


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