WOMEN’S BASKETBALL’S EMILY ENOCHS REFLECTS ON REPRESENTING GERMANY IN SUMMER YOUTH OLYMPICS

Emily (center) with teammates Helena Eckerle (left) and Emma Eichmeyer (right).
Emily (center) with teammates Helena Eckerle (left) and Emma Eichmeyer (right).

SACRAMENTO, Calif.Emily Enochs committed to play at Sacramento State earlier this year with the signing of her NLI. But first, she had to play for another squad - Team Germany in the 2018 Youth Summer Olympic Games.

The 2018 Youth Games were held in Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina, earlier this month from Oct. 6 through the 18th. While her Hornet teammates were undergoing full practices in the Nest at Sacramento State, Enochs was taking the court in an entirely different country and facing some of the best youth basketball players from around the world.

Enochs, who grew up in Germany and most recently played for her school, Gymnasium Carolinum Osnabrück, was one of four players selected to represent Germany for the women's basketball team. 

For details on the rules for Basketball 3x3 in the Youth Olympics, click here

After she returned to Sacramento State, the Hornet Media Relations department had a chance to catch up with Emily about her experience.

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Hornets Media: When did you find out that you would be representing Germany at the 2018 Youth Olympics? What was that like?

Emily Enochs: I was recruited for the German 3x3 team in summer 2017. There were a lot of us and the 2018 Youth Olympics Games was the big goal everyone there was working for and training for.

Part of me never thought I would actually make it all the way, but we qualified for the games in April this year. Only at the end of August did I get the information that I would get to represent Germany in Buenos Aires. We got the official message after a tournament in Hungary. That moment when we heard was indescribable.

It was a really great feeling and it proved to me that my hard work pays off. I was so proud of my teammates and myself for achieving our goal.

HM: When did you start training with your teammates?

EE: We've really kind of been training for a long time. One of my teammates, Emma Eichmeyer, and I have been friends since 2003, so we literally grew up together and learned how to play basketball together.

I knew the other two, Michaela Kucera and Helena Eckerle, from other pratcies for the 5-on-5 team before we got into the 3-on-3 team.

Also, Emma, Helena and I played together in the World Cup in China in the summer of 2017. Micheala joined our team this summer so we had all already played together for a while.

HM: Did any friends or family make the trip to Buenos Aires to watch you compete?

EE: Unfortunately, my family wasn't able to come to Buenos Aires. My coach, Jessica Kunisaki, came to support me for five days. But my teammates are also my friends - we grew so close together over the past two years - so you can basically say my friends came with me.

Even though not may people came, I had huge support from everyone. A lot of people watched the livestream and I got a lot of calls and texts wishing me good luck.

HM: Had you ever been to Buenos Aires before?

EE: No, I had never been to Buenos Aires before which was just another reason I was truly so excited to go there. I love visiting new countries with different cultures and meeting different people. Even not including basketball, it was really a great experience!

HM: Did you have a chance to meet the other athletes from different countries? What was that experience like?

EE: We talked to a lot of other athletes and were able to exchange our experiences. Because we are all living in the same village and eating in the same dining hall you meet them everywhere.

In the evening we often sat together and just talked about our competitions, our day, where we are from…basically everything. Like I said, I love leaning about new cultures and meeting new people which is why I really enjoyed exchanging experiences.

Because everybody is here for a reason and everyone is following the same goal we all came along really well. It's really hard to describe, but no day is like the other and you meet people from different countries every day.

HM: Which country was your favorite to compete against?

EE: Hungary was probably my favorite. Even though we had a tough loss against them, I liked it.

Their team was the European Champion in 2017 and I had never played against them before. I just really wanted to know how good we were compared to them. It was a tough and physical game, and it showed us what we have to work on.

HM: How did it feel to know that you were playing to represent Germany?

EE: It is always an awesome feeling. During the game I don't ever really think about it. But when you get called on the court before the game it is just amazing.

When we were walking through the city, there were so many people who wanted to take pictures with us. It made me feel really proud of myself, my teammates, and my home.

HM: What is one thing that you will remember forever about the experience?

EE: The opening ceremony was an incredible experience. But also the people you meet and things you learn about yourself and others is a lifelong lesson I will keep forever.

I will never forget all the amazing things we saw. For example, the village we lived in was simply amazing. Or our park where our tour was, everything was stunning.

But most of all I won't forget about the amazing people I was able to meet. Not only the other athletes and coaches, many former Olympic medalists visited us and talked about the lives of athletes with us. 

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Although she was born in Germany, Emily's father, Joe, actually played soccer at Sacramento State in 1989-92. He is currently the head coach of FSV Zwickau in Zwickau, Saxony.

Emily is one of eight newcomers to the 2018-19 Sacramento State roster. In addition to Emily, the Hornets added two other international players to the team - Claire Bady (France) and Julynne da Silva Sa (Brazil). The full roster can be found online at HornetSports.com. 

The 2018-19 women's basketball season begins with a preseason exhibition game against William Jessup in the Nest on Monday, Nov. 5.

The regular season opens on Sunday, Nov. 11 when the Hornets host the Cal Poly Mustangs in the Nest at 7:05 p.m.

Sacramento State's full 2018-19 schedule is available online and includes five non-conference home games, including one against the defending Big 10 champion Ohio State Buckeyes and the Causeway rivalry game against UC Davis.

For more information, be sure to visit the 2018-19 Sacramento State women's basketball homepage at HornetSports.com.