This September, the student athletes from the Viking Women’s Basketball Team traveled to Costa Rica for the program’s first international trip. The trip served as a bonding experience and the team got to play two games with the Costa Rican National Team in addition to working with a nonprofit that serves developmentally challenged children and bringing them the love of the game.
In addition to time on the court the team also chased some waterfalls, zip-lined through the rain forest, and swam in tropical waters.
Sofía Llanos, a junior guard who hails from Tarragona, Spain, and Ella Kaleta, freshman guard from Bothell, Wash., sent us a digital postcard that we wanted to share with all of you, along with some of the best snapshots from the team’s files. With Portland’s weather starting to turn to a cool and rainy fall, we thought we could all use some vicarious sunshine.
The Women Vikings start their basketball season in November, with the first home game tipping off at Viking Pavilion at 6 p.m. against Warner Pacific on Nov. 14. See you there!
From Sofía Llanos, Viking Women’s junior guard from Tarragona, Spain:
Hello PSU students, this trip was something my team had been looking forward to doing for a couple of years. Thanks to the athletic department, our donors, and the generosity of a lot of people we were able to travel to Costa Rica this past September.
For a lot of my teammates, this was the first time leaving the U.S. and I was super excited it was going to be in a Spanish-speaking country.
Our first three nights were spent in the capital, San José. This beautiful city with plenty of history and diverse culture welcomed us with open arms and we got to experience a couple of pretty unique activities. Besides playing two basketball games against their National Team, we explored the city and its significant places and did a community service activity with kids with autism. We taught them the basics of basketball and were able to appreciate the joy they put into this sport; it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We drove for a little bit and got to our next destination, La Fortuna. In this tropical landscape, we visited beautiful waterfalls and an amazing animal sanctuary, where my team and I saw the typical animals of Costa Rica. The next day before getting on the bus to drive for five hours, we went ziplining which was also a first experience for a lot of my teammates. The instructors were awesome, and we had a very fun time.
The five-hour drive was going to transport us to our next and final destination, the beach. Guanacaste and the famous beach Playa Conchal was where our resort was located. We had free time to explore the beautiful hotel, the pool, and the beautiful seashell beach. As another team activity, we sailed on a catamaran and got to swim in the ocean, snorkel, and have an overall great time. We had team dinners with plenty of Costa Rican dishes, lots of smoothies and some dessert.
I’d highlight so many things about this trip but the main one has been the memories made with my teammates, the opportunity to visit a new culture, and to give back to a community that was nothing but appreciative and welcoming to our team.
From Ella Kaleta, freshman guard from Bothell, Wash.:
In early September, my team and I had the great opportunity to go to Costa Rica. For me, it was truly a life-changing experience. Many of us have never had the opportunity to go to a tropical country. The sun, the people, and even the animals made for an incredible trip. Upon arrival, we went to San José. Everyone we met in Costa Rica was very friendly and helpful. We played two games against the Costa Rica Women’s National Team, who played very hard and had some very talented players. We won both games that we played.
After the games, we were fortunate enough to attend and help with Escuelas Deportivas, which is an organization that helps kids with autism in Costa Rica play basketball. This was a fun and rewarding experience for all of us. Another fun experience was ziplining over the Costa Rican rainforest. It was great team-bonding, and the rainforest was so pretty. One surprise from the trip for all of us was the wildlife, plants, trees, and geography. It was an amazing experience to learn about all the natural wildlife and how they are being protected.