Kansas Wesleyan signee Catherine Bowman ready for next step in career

Dylan Sherwood
Salina Journal
Bucklin's Catherine Bowman (14) collides in mid-air with Osawatomie's Amiah Simmons (15) during the KBCA all-star game Saturday at Mabee Arena in Salina.

Catherine Bowman put a little bit of pressure on herself playing in the KBCA All-Star Game on Saturday afternoon.

Playing in front of future coach Ryan Showman, she wanted to impress him on the same floor she'll be competing on for the next four years. Moments after she was called to action for the Gold team, she made her first shot in Mabee Arena, though her first official one in a Kansas Wesleyan uniform will have to wait until winter. 

"I was like relieved, but excited at the same time," said Bowman, a Bucklin native, who scored five points in the game. "I just tried to ignore it and just play. I felt like I did that and it was fun talking to (Showman) afterward and I saw coach (Dwanisha) Tate afterward too and she told me, 'Good job.'"

Showman started watching Bowman last summer and built a relationship that eventually led to her signing with KWU. An official visit and attending multiple games during last season made her decision much easier to become a Coyote. 

"Salina as a city is very nice," Bowman said. "It seems like a big old family here. I'm really looking forward to being a part of this college."

KWU has been known for producing talent from residents of small towns in Kansas. When Showman was an assistant under Gordon Reimer, one of their goals was to attract those hard-working players from small towns. 

The best fit: Kansas Wesleyan signee Alex Littlejohn to play in KBCA All-Star Game

Once Showman took over the program in 2012, he continued that trend.

"Those small-town Kansans, man, they've got a hard work ethic, they're mentally tough and coachable," he said. "They do the right thing on and off the court and it's a different set of values you tend to see and we've had tremendous success." 

And those small-town Kansans have made an impact for the Coyotes. Amanda Hill, Vanessa Kresin, Courtney Heinen, Kelcey Hinz, are notables who have been first-team all-Kansas Conference and have been named All-Americans. 

Even though she hasn't moved to Salina yet, Bowman has had the opportunity to practice with returners to build chemistry and relationships with future teammates. 

"They were so open and welcoming to me," she said. "They were so supportive of me coming in.

"I feel like I'm already a part of the team."

Sabetha's Melinna Schumann penetrates the defense against Bucklin's Catherine Bowman during the KBCA all-star game Saturday at Mabee Arena in Salina.

In addition to bonding with her future teammates, Bowman got to talk briefly to KWU volleyball signee Melinna Schumann. In their brief conversations on the floor, while guarding each other, Schumann told Bowman about Leah Renyer, who will be Bowman's teammate and roommate at KWU. Schumann and Renyer both come to KWU from Sabetha. 

 "That's really cool that she's coming to Kansas Wesleyan too," Bowman said of Schumann. 

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McPherson's Pyle thankful for KBCA opportunity 

McPherson's Grace Pyle (21) drives to the basket with Louisburg's Madilyn Melton (31) on her side during the KBCA all-star game Saturday at Mabee Arena in Salina.

McPherson's Grace Pyle felt fortunate to play with and against the best players in Kansas. 

She led the Gold team with 14 points Saturday in a 101-86 to the Blue team. 

"It was really awesome to go out there and close my high school career on a high note," Pyle said. "I'm just super grateful for all the coaching staff at Mac who have pushed me these last four years."

McPherson qualified for the state tournament in all of Pyle's four years. The Bullpups claimed the Class 4A Division I state championship during her freshman year, placed fourth during in Class 5A her sophomore year and second in 4A this past winter. Pyle and the Bullpups' chances at a state championship came to a halt in 2020 when COVID-19 concerns canceled the remainder of the tournament, but still, they were among the final four teams.

"I'm just so grateful that I got to play for the community of McPherson," she said. "It's something that I'll always hold dear to my heart and with all the teammates I've had over the years.

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"I'm definitely going to miss my teammates and the fans. Mac is such a special community and getting to represent Mac these last four years has been such an honor." 

Pyle is now turning her attention to her collegiate career at Pittsburg State University. She's already been in Pittsburg the past three weeks practicing and adjusting to her new home.

Pyle got to team up Saturday with future Gorilla teammates Sydney Holmes of Maize and Karenna Gerber of Halstead. She also was a teammate of Emporia State signee Kylee Scheer of Cheney and went up against St. Thomas Aquinas' Madison Skelton, Beloit-St. John's/Tipton's Lauryn Dubbert and Olpe's Macy Smith. Skelton, Smith and Dubbert also will play in the MIAA next year with Skelton and Smith joining Scheer at ESU and Dubbert playing at Newman University. 

"I'm super excited because I think we have a good chance to be good in the MIAA and maybe even in the national tournament," she said. "It's going to be a good next four years in the MIAA. I'm super excited that I got to play against some of that competition today."