Thunder From Down Under

From Canberra, the capital city of Australia and with a big heart in a small town, senior Bianca Dufelmeier came to Ames this fall to finish her high school education and to accomplish her dream of playing college basketball. “Crikey,” Dufelmeier said with a laugh and a slight Australian accent. “Ames just sort of happened. I like the small town feel, and the people are really chill.” Dufelmeier is being hosted by junior Jenna Power and her family. “I was playing in a summer tournament in Kansas City against [coach Joel] Sullivan’s team,” Dufelmeier said. “After the game (and his defeat), we started discussing how I wanted to come to America. He then started asking around the basketball community in Ames if anyone was interested in hosting me for the year, and the Powers graciously accepted.” Power is a starter on the Ames High girls’ basketball team along with her exchange student. Coach Sullivan, who has been head coach of the girls’ team for ten years, says that Dufelmeier brings maturity and experience to the squad. “[Dufelmeier] provides leadership to such a young team we have this year,” Sullivan said. The team hopes to finish strong and have a good postseason, and next year Dufelmeier plans to continue her basketball career in college. Surely, moving from Australia to Iowa is a drastic change. Although adjusting quickly, Dufelmeier misses her family, friends, the warm weather and beaches. So was the big move really worth it? “At first, it didn’t seem like it,” Dufelmeier said. “It was really hard leaving home halfway through my senior year, and having to leave my mum, dad, little brother, friends and team behind. I’ve made new friends and I have family everywhere in the US, but still haven’t forgotten about those back home. And I get the chance to play in college; so in the end, I guess it was.”