Kayli Sartori is beginning her fourth year with the Cascades women’s basketball team as a guard / forward. The agriculture student talks about her favourite moments playing with the Cascades, as well as being named Canada West’s third star of the week.
How did you start playing basketball?
It was back in middle school. I was playing football at the time for the Abbotsford Falcons, and my mom knew that wouldn’t last forever, so she pretty much dragged me into basketball tryouts.
What do you like about basketball?
To be honest, I’m just a super competitive person, and basketball is something I’ve always been good at. I love the competition, I love the girls, I love the atmosphere. It’s just something that I’ve always had in my life.
How do you find time to balance athletics and your courses?
It’s funny, I feel like all athletes say you have to have a balance and you have to be organized, but a lot of the time the coaches don’t allow you to have balance during the season. It’s basketball, and you make sacrifices to play basketball. You’re not going to be able to hang out with your friends as much as you want; you’re not going to be able to work as much as you want. It just comes down to the love for it and the need to play. When we say we have balance, we’re totally lying. We don’t have balance. We try as much as we can to make sure we have those fun moments in our lives and time where we can work and make money, but the biggest thing is playing your sport, and that takes priority over everything.
You were recently named the Canada West third star of the week and you’ve previously won CIS national all-star. How does it feel winning something like that?
In the moment, it was all happening so fast. You don’t have time to even think about it, but thinking back at it now, I’m so blessed to have the team that I had, the girls around me that I had. You can’t win awards like that without having a support system. It’s not just one player, it’s everybody. I didn’t expect it so it was super exciting. It was really cool.
Are you planning on pursuing basketball professionally after you graduate?
I wasn’t until recently. I’ve been talking with Al [Tuchscherer] a little more, and it is something that if the doors open and the timing’s right, I’ll take the opportunity if it comes.
Do you play any other sports?
Not anymore. I snowboard, but it’s all during basketball season so we’re not really allowed to get out on the mountains. I grew up playing football, volleyball. I was that kid that was on every sports team in middle school and high school, but now it’s just strictly basketball.
Do you have any favourite games or moments playing with the Cascades?
Not this past season, but the season before that when we came third at nationals, that was a pretty surreal moment for all of us. I had received the all-star award at that tournament as well, which was something that just doesn’t happen to everyone, and I was really humbled by it. It kind of gives you a taste of what can be, so you strive for a little more the next year.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.