For the past two seasons Manitowoc Lincoln girls basketball coach Jamie Ullman has been saying that Ships standout Kali Hackmann’s best basketball is ahead of her.
On Wednesday the senior signed her national letter of intent to continue her basketball career at Winona State University, giving her the opportunity to prove Ullman right.
“It’s a dream come true to even play at the next level and I am really looking forward to it,” Hackmann said. “Whatever role they give me I will be glad to take.”
Hackmann had been contacted by other college programs, but despite not being specifically told what her role would be for the Warriors, she said there never was a point she considered going anywhere else. Winona State has won 20 or more games in three of its past four seasons having been coached by Scott Ballard the past seven seasons.
Ballard has compiled a .529 winning percentage with the Warriors, delivering the program its first Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championship in the 2010-2011 season. Ballard also has taken the program to NCAA tournaments in two of the past three seasons.
“When I visited the campus it just felt like a really nice fit,” Hackmann said. “It really seemed like they wanted me.”
Hackmann, an All-Fox River Classic Conference first team selection her junior season and a second team selection her sophomore year, was first seen by Winona State in the beginning of June. Shortly thereafter the Division 2 school began to send information to the 5-foot-10-inch standout, who scheduled a campus visit for the beginning of July.
At that time Hackmann was offered a scholarship and within a week she accepted.
“I think the overall competitiveness (is what I’m looking forward to the most),” Hackmann said. “Everyone is so much better and you have to work that much harder.
Ullman, for one, believes Hackmann is up to the task.
“She is definitely a highly-skilled player. She is athletic and couple that with the fact that she has a great work ethic, she is very deserving,” Ullman said. “She is a humble player. It is a good fit for her. … I am extremely proud of her. It is a well-deserved honor for her.”
Hackmann will begin her senior campaign with the Ships on Nov. 24 as Lincoln is set to take on host Two Rivers at 5:45 p.m.
“It’s my last season so it’s my last chance to do what we can and I am looking forward to this year, even more so than previous years,” Hackmann said. “I’m really looking for us to do something really good.”