Women’s Basketball Team Sets Sights on Africa

March 29, 2011 / by / 1 Comment

By Doug Carroll
Communications Staff

You couldn’t blame Trent May for putting up his feet, watching the highlight reel from a record-setting 29-3 season and reflecting on what it was like to coach everybody’s All-American, Samantha Murphy.

You don’t know Trent May.

Only two weeks removed from the end of the season, the head coach of the Antelope women’s basketball team has plunged headlong into fundraising for a mission trip to Malawi that’s less than six weeks away. Ten players and the team’s three coaches are committed to going, at a cost of $2,100 per person.

“My heart has longed to go to Africa,” May says. “It’s a vast continent, and there’s a world we don’t conceive of over there.

“The first sentence of GCU’s mission statement talks about becoming ‘global citizens.’ Well, are we thinking that way? How are we measuring up?”

Through a series of connections, May was introduced not long ago to Corey Conkright, a representative of African Bible College, which has campuses in Malawi, Liberia and Uganda that train students for Christian leadership and service.

Conkright is coordinating the trip, as well as the promotion of similar trips on 20 college campuses — including GCU’s — in the fall.

The athletes and coaches are scheduled to leave on Sunday, May 8, and will be gone for the next nine days. In Malawi, they will conduct camps for as many as 600 children, work in an orphanage and serve on the African Bible College campus.

The scramble is on to meet the fundraising deadline (it’s in two weeks), secure passports and obtain the necessary inoculations. All four of the team’s seniors — Murphy, Rosalyn Nelson, Kristi Girdley and Katie Johnson — are in, even though the trip departs only two days after GCU’s graduation ceremony.

Malawi, in southeastern Africa, is one of the world’s least developed and most densely populated countries. Life expectancy is only 50 years, and 70 percent of the country’s hospital beds are occupied by HIV/AIDS patients. Murphy, who plans to become a physician’s assistant, will have an opportunity to visit some of those patients.

In more ways than one, it’s quite a distance from the new Student Recreation Center practice facility or Hawai’i, where the team wrapped up a Pacific West Conference championship.

“After this trip, there will be a new value placed on appreciation in our program,” May predicted. “There will be many teaching opportunities that will come from this.”

May’s goal is for GCU’s players and coaches to return every year at the same time, developing a long-term relationship, and he’s already planning along those lines. He’s looking forward to 2012 and the opportunity to build a well for a Malawian village.

Those interested in donating to this year’s trip should make checks payable to the GCU Spiritual Life Foundation, putting “Women’s Basketball / Africa Trip” in the memo field. Checks can be sent to the attention of Trent May at GCU, 3300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85017.

For questions, email May at [email protected].

Reach Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or [email protected].

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One Response
  1. Krisann Valdez

    Wow the rumors are true! Great story and a great team!

    Apr.01.2011 at 5:13 pm
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