First a national championship, now a dream destination.
After helping Kansas City Kansas Community College win the 2019 NJCAA Division II women’s national championship, Blue Springs High School graduate Camryn Swanson will continue her basketball career at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.
“I’ve always wanted to play in that conference (MIAA) since high school,” Swanson said. “That was my goal and everything just fell into place. A couple of other schools were interested but nothing that I was interested in.”
Swanson will be joined at UCM by her roommate and best friend, Nija Collier, the NJCAA DII Player of the Year for 2019. “Nija and I went down for a visit about two weeks ago and we loved it. It’s perfect, it’s one of the top NCAA Division II programs in the country. We knew right away we were going to commit.”
KCKCC’s national championship, its second in four years, was also a factor in Swanson’s decision.
“We want to win another one,” said Swanson. Central Missouri won the NCAA DII national championship in 2018 and was ranked 23rd nationally this past season before being eliminated by a 3-point shot at the horn in tournament play. Finishing 25-7, the Jennies have had only two losing seasons in 35 years.
What the Jennies will be getting in Swanson is one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in KCKCC history. Her 87 3-pointers this season are an all-time best and her 128 over her two-year career ties her for the all-time best. Swanson had 11 games with four or more threes, including one game of seven that is second best at KCKCC and another of six games. Playing in all 36 games, she averaged 8.6 points.
In the national tournament in Harrison, Ark., Swanson had five 3-pointers in the Blue Devils’ 82-68 win over Pima (Ariz.) to get KCKCC to the semifinals. She added a trio of threes and 11 points in the championship game as the Blue Devils (32-4) destroyed Union County (N.J.) 84-59.
“Getting subbed out with 1:30 left in the fourth quarter of the national championship game and coming to the bench looking at all the sophomores I started this journey with was the most bittersweet moment I’ve ever had,” says Swanson. “Kisi (Young) and Nija are my best friends and knowing that was the last time we’ll ever play together in a game was tough. However, I couldn’t feel more blessed from this experience. All of us sophomores have a special bond, one that will last a lifetime and for that I’m grateful.”
Swanson plans to major in criminal justice at UCM with a goal of going to law school and becoming an attorney, “I’m really into civil rights,” said Swanson, who will graduate with a 3.8 grade point average.
Swanson is the first Blue Devil to be named team captain by Joe McKinstry in his four years as head coach at KCKCC. “I have not done that in the past but I felt like her character and how she handles herself academically made her a good choice,” said McKinstry. “Camryn has a very quiet demeanor, has done everything we’ve asked, never been a problem and a fantastic teammate. I thought it was important that she represent us as our captain.”