Tigers to Panthers: Three varsity athletes set to continue college careers for Division 1 team

Wolf snags the rebound and throws the ball to Barney, already halfway down the court. A quick pass around a defender to Finley, the shot is taken, and the Tigers are up another two points.

On Nov. 8, senior teammates Kiana Barney, Kamryn Finley and Cynthia Wolf all signed letters of intent to continue their basketball careers at the University of  Northern Iowa.

The trio marks the first group of basketball teammates to remain in the Cedar Falls area since alums Kim Hansen, Amy Swisher, Emily Berry and Alex Cook teamed up at UNI just over a decade ago.

Barney and Wolf have played together for close to nine years, starting their careers together as teammates on a Tiger club team in fourth grade. Finley, Barney and Wolf all began playing together on a traveling club team known as the Barnstormers later on.

Barney said she is excited by the prospect of playing on the same team as Wolf and Finley for their college careers.

“I think it’s really exciting that we have the opportunity to play with each other in college because we’ve grown really close to each other, and that chemistry means a lot on a team. I’m so happy that we are going to be able to continue to grow close to one another over the next four years.”

“I think it’s a great opportunity to be able to play with each other right now too,” Finley said, “because we will all be on a same team together at UNI in a year or so. Being able to play together now helps us to know each other’s strengths. Like out on that court tonight, we knew each other’s strengths, and we got the job done.”

And they definitely did get the job done. The Tigers won their home conference game against Dubuque Hempstead with a final score of 64-41 on Nov. 28.

While thriving on the court is not a new concept for the Tigers, there is something relatively new about their team.

Originally attending high school in Linn Mar, Finley decided to move to Cedar Falls to be closer to family for her senior year. This year marks the first year that she has competed with her fellow Barnstormers teammates on a school team.

“The Waterloo district is my hometown,” Finley said. “All of my mom’s side of the family lives up here, so once I moved away, I didn’t really have that family support in Linn Mar. My grandparents would always drive down to watch games, but I didn’t feel like family was there for me. I would always come up and hang out with Kiana and Cynthia. Cedar Falls was like my second home. Every weekend I would come up here. I just knew that I wanted to be here. I loved the atmosphere.

“It was definitely a hard decision, but I did have a lot of support from my friends and family. People were there for me. No one really told me, ‘You should do this’ or ‘You should do that’—it was my decision. Having my friends and family continually support me helped me a lot, though.”

Ultimately, Finley said the transition has been relatively easy, even though she knew that she would likely face some questions after her move.

“I knew people here, and I had some friends, but the scariest part was that I knew it  was going to get out. People were going to be talking about how Kamryn Finley had  moved. My friends and family were telling me not to worry about it, though, and how it was my own decision. Once basketball came too, I knew it was going to come back up, but right now I’m just going to keep playing the game,” Finley said.

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