WASHINGTON - Gallaudet University women's basketball coach Stephanie Stevens along with rising senior Kelsey Hudson (Blissfield, Mich.) and rising junior Kelli Barnes (Cliffside, N.C.) traveled to Spain this summer to participate in a Beyond Sports Tour where they played basketball, volunteered at a youth clinic and took some tourist activities.
"The Beyond Sports Tour in Spain was a wonderful and a very rich experience for me. I got to do what I love, play basketball, and at the same time enjoy the beautiful country. I got to experience what it felt like playing in another country," said Barnes.
The Gallaudet trio arrived in Madrid to meet their respective coaches and teammates. Hudson and Barnes played on a team with representatives from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.), Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham (N.J.), Mount Ida (Mass.) and Ouachita Baptist (Ark.).
"We sincerely appreciate Beyond Sports Tours hospitality in making our first time in Europe an unforgettable experience. Thank you to the staff, coaches and players we met along the way," said Stevens.
There were nine American teams (four women's teams and five men's teams) who competed against high-level Spain teams throughout the trip. The group played four games in three cities (Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia) during the span of June 4-13.
"It was a great opportunity for me to go to Spain this summer and experience their culture. We learned a lot about their history and it was very interesting," said Hudson. "Before I went to Spain, I expected their basketball skills to be just like our skills here in America, but I was wrong. Their skills are different. It was an eye-opening experience playing against them; they play really smooth and read each other's minds as a team, and they're really fast as well."
The group took part in various tourist activities, a youth basketball clinic, and immersed themselves in the Spanish culture through the assistance of group leaders.
"I was also involved in a youth clinic for the local kids in Spain and it was fun seeing the kids being so engaged in learning to play basketball," said Barnes. "I am grateful to be able to go on this tour and for having an amazing team/coaches who were willing to work with me. Thank you to Beyond Sports for making this trip a memorable one for me."
About Beyond Sports Tours
Beyond Sports was established in 2010 and has grown to become the world leader in international sports tours. They create mutually beneficial opportunities for US student-athletes, international athletes, and international youth to enjoy a life-changing cross-cultural experience through sport. Beyond Sports is a team of former college athletes, educators, coaches, and international adventurers and we're passionate about "Connecting the World Through Sports!" The touring group offers college tours, team trips and academic programs in Australia, Costa Rica, Spain and South Africa. The sports they work with include basketball, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball and volleyball. To learn more go to www.beyondsportstours.com.