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NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. (Titan Athletics)– The Westminster College men’s basketball team traveled to Belize over the summer (June 26 through July 2) for team building off the court and national competition on the court. The NCAA allows teams to make an international trip once every four years.


 
The team was greeted by Great Belize Television upon arriving in Belize City at the airport. Juniors Blake Payne (Ashtabula, OH / Jefferson Area) and Dylan O’Hara (Girard, OH / Girard), along with sophomore Isaac Stamatiades (Elkridge, MD / Avalon), appeared on the Great Belize Television’s Open Your Eyes morning show. “Once in a lifetime experience,” Payne said. The team stayed in Belize City for the first two days, with one of their first stops to the Mayan Ruins by Guatemala. “It was an eye-opening experience for the guys,” head coach Kevin Siroki said.

Westminster suited up and played the Belize national team on Thursday. “The Titans played against a much older and experienced team and came up short of victory,” Siroki said. “It was a great experience for us. We were able to meet new friends that will be friends for life.”

The Titans spent time on Ambergris Caye, an island in Belize, and at Coco Beach Resorts where the team got to experience a lot of Belizean culture, including swimming with sharks and stingrays at Shark Ray Alley.
 


On Saturday, the team played against the Belize Elite Basketball League defending champions, the San Pedro Tigersharks, where the Titans came out victorious with a three-point win on an outdoor court. “It was a hard, tough-fought game versus a very good team,” Siroki said. “It was also another opportunity to meet new friends.” The Titans exchanged jerseys with the Tigersharks players and were able to give Belizean kids Westminster jerseys.
 

The next day, the team rode a catamaran over to another island, Caye Caulker, where they got to immerse themselves in Belizean culture. “The players interacted and had a great experience at a Lobsterfest,” Siroki said. On Monday, some of the team went back to Shark Ray Alley, while the rest enjoyed jumping off the rock at Coco Beach and relaxing.

 

“Overall, it was a great trip for the team as far as getting to experience the Belizean culture and the great people, but the most important part was the “Titan team bonding”, that I believe will really help us this coming season.”

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