Cascade Hooper's Surgery leads to NCAA Opportunity - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Cascade Hooper's Surgery leads to NCAA Opportunity

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Early Thursday morning Elsie Carpenter made school history when she put pen to paper.

The students were cheering for the The 5' 10" post player as she signed her national letter of intent with Westminster. The Lady Griffin's basketball program was a traditional powerhouse in the Frontier Conference.

"I couldn't be more excited," says Lady Badgers Senior Elsie Carpenter. "Westminster is a tough school is a tough school academically, let alone basketball related. They have a great program and their coaches are great and they just have a solid team. I'm excited to be apart of it.'"

The Lady Griffins are in the process of leaving the Frontier Conference and becoming an NCAA Division II school (Click here to read the original story that KFBB broke last year). That means Elsie is part of Westminster's first ever recruiting class in their NCAA era and she's the first Cascade Badger to play at that level of competition.

"Elsie has had this goal since she was little," says Elsie's mom Katrina Carpenter. Sixth, Seventh grade she'd look up NCAA requirements. And based her education on that and her classes, make sure she had all the math. Then she worked hard at Basketball, she'd dribble a ball in the house for years."

But it wasn't until last year that Westminster was even on her radar. Her change of heart came....because of her heart.

"It increased from once a every three months to 2 episodes a week for longer durations of time," says Katrina. "So she could faint or have problems from it."

"It" was "SVT," also known as Supraventricular Tachycardia, a condition that causes a rapid heart rate and can result in shortness of breath or chest pain. Elsie had struggled with it since she started high school and needed surgery last June.

"So I had to have these little tubes go up in my heart," says Elsie. "And they had to freeze an electrical node in part of my heart with the electrical spark. It wasn't that super intensive, but it was something I needed to take care of."

She traveled to Salt Lake City for surgery where she discovered Westminster and fell in love with it.

"We would have never gone to Westminster or looked at them. Never," says Katrina. "She had no interest in Westminster whatsoever. "

"I think that kind of gave me the opportunity to check out Westminster and the campus," says Elsie. So that let me have the feel of Salt Lake and made me realize how wonderful and how nice it is to be there.

In then, it's a bit poetic that a heart condition will allow a Class C girl to have the next four years to show Westminster, Salt Lake City and the NCAA how big her own heart is...on and off the court.

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