In her second season playing basketball for Emporia State, Kelsey Balcom, sophomore nursing major, has become a leader for the young team. Her poise, patience and leadership have been noticed by both players and coaches.
“Kelsey is an obvious leader on our team,” said Jory Collins, head coach. “She is one of our more talented players, even as a sophomore. We are really excited to have her leadership on our team.”
Growing up in Olathe, Kelsey competed in track, volleyball and basketball. She was involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Student Volunteers, where she worked in a sixth grade classroom her senior year.
In high school she focused on basketball with support from her family. According to ESU’s website, she played in three straight Kansas state championship games while leading her team to victory as a senior.
“I am really close to all of my family,” Balcom said. “My parents never forced me to play but have always been very supportive by coming to watch me.”
Kelsey’s sister, Megan, will be joining the team next season.
“My sister and I are very close,” Balcom said. “She is my biggest fan, and I am her biggest fan.”
According to ESU’s website, Balcom was the MIAA Freshmen of the Year and earned Honorable Mention All MIAA last season. She averaged 11.6 points and 7 rebounds per game to go along with four double-doubles.
“Ali V. (Volkens) was a senior last year as a post player,” Balcom said. “She was great. She helped me with a lot of things, helped the whole team with a lot of things. It was a good learning experience all around. I want to continue to improve from there.”
Kelsey has high hopes for the team and their future and plans to work as hard as necessary to reach those goals.
“We don’t want to settle with just being good,” Balcom said. “Every day we want to get better and better. We want to be great. Personally, I want to improve and be as good as I can every day. I need to move away from not thinking as much and just play the game.”
Her presence and leadership on and off the floor is vital to the success of this team. The team chemistry is noticeable to many.
“Our team chemistry is one of the strengths of this team,” Balcom said. “We all get along. We have players at every position that can play.”