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Banwarth began at the University of Nebraska as a music education major, but the scheduling conflicted too much with volleyball. (3) She played at CenturyLink Center on Nebraska teams that made the final four in 2008 and an NCAA regional in 2009. (4) Banwarth graduated from the University of Nebraska in 2012 with a major in English and joined Team USA in January 2011.
Banwarth helped Team USA win a bronze medal at the 2011 Pan American Games in her first international competition. She earned gold medals in back-to-back Pan American Cups (2012, 2013) as the starting libero and was named the 2013 USA Volleyball Female Indoor Most Improved Player of the Year. (5)
a) Started 11 of 13 matches at libero during 2014 FIVB World Championship, which included a 2.16 dig average over 37 sets played b) Started 20 of 31 matches at libero during 2013 season, compiling 2.25 dig average and 69 positive reception percent with only nine errors on 345 chances c) Ranked second in Best Digger at the 2013 FIVB World Grand Champions Cup with 3.19 dig average d) Ranked atop the Best Receivers list at the 2013 NORCECA Championship with a 89.6 efficiency percent on 67 attempts, and was second overall in Best Libero e) Tallied 24 digs in 2012 Pan American Cup gold-medal match against Brazil, which had several Olympians competing only a couples weeks prior to start of the 2012 Olympic Games f) Finished four-year career at University of Nebraska with 1,706 digs g) Named alternate for the 2007 U.S. Women's Junior National Team
In July 2016 it was announced that Banwarth had been selected to the U. S. women's indoor volleyball final Olympic roster and would be competing in the Summer Olympics to be held in Rio de Janiero. She was the only libero to make the final cut. (6) She was also the first Iowan on Team USA since 2004. (7)
In August 2016 the United States team lost a five-set semifinal to Serbia which cost them a chance to win the gold medal. Team USA came back two days later with a four-set win over the Netherlands to earn bronze. (8)
August 25, 2016 was proclaimed "Kayla Banwarth Day" by Mayor Roy D. BOUL. On that day an estimated one thousand proud residents met the bronze medalist at Courtside Sports Bar and Grill where she signed autographs and recounted memories of the games. (9)
1. Tyson, Rogers. "Off the Court with Kayla Banwarth," USAVolleyball. Online: http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Volleyball/Features/2014/December/12/Off-the-Court-With-Kayla-Banwarth
2. "Kayla Banwarth," Team USA. Online: http://www.teamusa.org/Athletes/BA/Kayla-Banwarth.aspx
4. Kaipust, Rich. "Former Husker Kayla Banwarth Has Made a Career with Team USA," Big Red Today, Online: http://www.omaha.com/huskers/former-husker-kayla-banwarth-has-made-a-career-with-team/article_13fa88c1-ed6f-5f0d-8bdc-9b3f14ac6128.html
4. "Kayla Banwarth"
5. "Kayla Banwarth"
6. West, Brenden. "Destination: Rio," Telegraph Herald, July 13, 2016, p. 1
7. West, Brenden. "Olympic Feeling Takes Hold of Banwarths," Telegraph Herald, July 13, p. 1B
8. West, Brenden. "Rio-World Experience," Telegraph Herald, August 26, 2016, p. 1A