Brand Selected to U.S. Collegiate National Team for Second Time

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- For the second straight year, K-State setter Katie Brand has been selected to train and compete in the U.S. Collegiate National Team (CNT) program, USA Volleyball announced. The rising redshirt junior will work with 35 other athletes in New Orleans, Louisiana from June 21-29 at the Girls' Junior National Championships.

A native of Grand Island, Nebraska, Brand is one of six setters chosen for the program this year. She was one of three Wildcats that participated in the U.S. Women's National Team Open Tryouts in February in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

"Katie is one of our hardest workers, and I believe that this opportunity is one that she has earned through her level of work and commitment," said K-State head coach Suzie Fritz. "She embraces each and every chance to compete and challenge herself as a player. Her opportunity to work within the USA Volleyball system and continue to develop as a leader, with other talented collegiate players throughout the country, is a unique and special one."

In June 2014, Brand trained with the CNT program for the first time in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Later in the fall, she went on to help the Wildcats compile a 22-win campaign and earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Brand was named All-Big 12 First Team and AVCA All-America Honorable Mention after she registered 1,000+ assists, 300+ digs, 100+ kills and 100+ blocks, which made her the first Wildcat to ever post those totals in each of the respective categories in the same season.

"When Katie returned from the same experience a year ago, I believe she had higher expectations for what she and her teammates were capable of accomplishing," added Fritz. "She was able to bring that back to us and to raise the bar from within our program."

For the fourth consecutive year, USA Volleyball will have its U.S. Collegiate National Team program (formerly known as U.S. Women's National A2 Team) represented at the USAV Girls' Junior National Championships.

"USA Volleyball is excited to bring these three dozen outstanding collegiate athletes together for the College National Team program in New Orleans," USA Volleyball Senior Director Tom Pingel said in an official release. "It's always beneficial to the development of our National Team pipeline to get this group in the gym during the summer, as well as in front of the juniors playing at the GJNC so they can see the next level of play. Over the past four years, our CNT athletes have served as outstanding role models for these younger athletes."

After the training portion of the program, Brand and the other 35 athletes will be divided into three equal teams which will compete in a round-robin event June 26-29. The round-robin event may include and additional team to increase the field to four teams that would complete June 25-29.

This program is considered a second tryout for the U.S. Women's National Team.

For a complete list of the 36 athletes selected to the program, click here.

Brand and the Wildcats are currently in the midst of their spring practices. K-State continues its slate of scrimmages this Saturday, April 11 at UMKC's Swinney Rec Center for the K-State Spring Invitational. Admission to the event, which starts at 10 a.m., is free.