Dubuque athlete to compete on 2016 U.S. Olympic volleyball team - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque athlete to compete on 2016 U.S. Olympic volleyball team

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Courtesy of Team USA website Courtesy of Team USA website
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

One of Dubuque's own is headed to the Summer Olympic Games -- 27-year-old Kayla Banwarth.

You can imagine, it's an exciting moment for her family. "I  actually found late out last night. I talked to Kayla and she'd sent me the email that she'd gotten from the coach," said Anne Banwarth, Kayla's mother.

Kayla is one of 12 players to make the roster for the U.S. Women's Volleyball Team.

Her journey with the sport, a long one. "Kayla's volleyball started when she was really little. Like little, little...three, four years old," Anne said.

She fell in love with the game.

During high school, Kayla improved her volleyball skills on the team at Walhert Catholic High School in Dubuque. She then went on to play in college at University of Nebraska.

"She always wanted to be playing at it, she always wanted to be getting better at it. She loved being in the gym...she loved working on stuff and volleyball was always her goal," said Eric Banwarth, Kayla's brother.

Her mother proudly wears a team USA volleyball shirt.

She says it's a dream come true.

"I just can't imagine watching her at the opening ceremonies. It's just unreal. A dream come true," she added.

Opening ceremonies are on Friday, Aug. 5.  They'll be airing on KWWL.

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Four Olympic silver medalists and eight newcomers will comprise the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women's Volleyball Team. One of the members will represent Dubuque. 

Kayla Banwarth was selected to the woman's indoor volleyball team and will compete for the gold medal in August. 

The 5'10'' Dubuque native is the only libero to make the cut, which makes her a valuable player in the team's lineup. 

A few of Banwarth's accomplishments include: Earning gold medals in back-to-back Pan American Cups as the starting libero (2012, 2013,) helping Team USA to win the bronze medal at 2011 Pan American Games in the first international competition, and she was named best receiver at the 2015 NORCECA Championship. 

KWWL's Shirley Descorbeth contributed to this story.

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