THE DRILL: Ana Veldkamp helps SWC continue girls basketball success

Jan. 2—EDGERTON — The Southwest Minnesota Christian girls basketball program has become known for excellence.

The Eagles are one of the most decorated programs in the region, so expectations are always high. This season is no different as they hope to make the Class A state tournament for the first time since 2017.

A current driving force that could help the team get there is Ana Veldkamp.

A talented senior guard who can drive to the basket and kick the ball out to her teammates, Veldkamp is averaging 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and nearly four steals through eight games this season as the Eagles are off to a 7-1 start.

"I think things have gone really well for us so far," she said. "We have really good team chemistry and all of our girls work really well together."

Part of why SWC's team chemistry is so good is because of Veldkamp's leadership. A strong communicator on the court, leadership is something she's improved on.

"I think I've improved as a leader, as I've gotten to know a lot of our girls on the team," she said. "I've gotten to know the older girls that I've been playing with since I was little. And I've gotten to know the younger girls this year, it's been fun to play with them in practice."

For Veldkamp, basketball is a sport she's played nearly her whole life and it's seen as a family affair. Her earliest basketball memories are going to the gym and playing with her sisters, which is what got her into the sport and taught her how to play.

"We'd go to the gym about every Sunday and I played a lot of basketball against my sisters. I have three older sisters, so I really looked up to them," she said. "I really learned how to play while playing against them. And my dad had a big part in my basketball career. He taught me how to play a lot of basketball and it was kind of just this big family thing, we'd all help each other get better. I look up to my older sisters. I know my younger siblings now look up to me, so it's just something that we've all done together."

Veldkamp is a three-sport athlete for SWC who also competes in volleyball and in softball, which won the state title last season. After high school, Veldkamp plans on attending Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa to continue playing basketball and softball.

A major factor to Veldkamp's decision was that all of her older sisters went there too. The oldest sister, Hope, played basketball at Dordt, the second oldest, Olivia, played volleyball and the third oldest, Ella, currently runs track and field there.

You can go online at to see the full video of this week's Drill subject, Ana Veldkamp. Here is a sample of our interview.

QUESTION: When you look back on your time playing basketball at SWC, what are some moments that will stick to you?

ANSWER: "Some of my favorite memories would probably be celebrations in the locker rooms after big wins. We all come out of the locker room and all of our fans are here to congratulate us. I think that's really fun, just the fan base that we have here at Southwest is a really big part of our community."

QUESTION: Who inspires you in sports?

ANSWER: "Someone that inspires me in sports would be my older sister Hope. When I was in about junior high, she was playing high school basketball and I really just looked up to her and how hard she worked. I watched her make it to the state tournament, so that's always something that I've wanted to be able to do, and I just see how hard she works."

QUESTION: What's the best advice you've gotten in your athletic career?

ANSWER: "Some of the best advice I've ever gotten would be from my mom Trisha Veldkamp. She tells me before every game just work as hard as you can. Even if you're gonna beat them by 50, if it's gonna be a close game, you don't know when your last game is, your last practice. Injury and disease could end everything in a second, so just work hard."