Tana Layton wasn't sure a move away from home was going to be right for her, but a conversation with Alyssa Cox convinced her extending her boundaries would be a good thing.

Layton, a national championship-winning guard from Airdrie, Alta., is the newest commitment to the Winnipeg Wesmen women's basketball program in the Class of 2023.

Layton, who played high school with the W.H. Croxford Cavaliers and won gold with the Alberta U18 team at the 2022 Canada Games, said she'd originally set parameters of "one province away" as she thought she'd prefer sitting close to home. But the conversation with the Wesmen head coach gave her a change of heart and, after a visit to campus, she quickly committed to Winnipeg. 

"I wanted to broaden my spectrum of who I was talking to, so I started reaching out to more schools and right away Alyssa got back to me," Layton said. "We set up a call a couple of weeks after we exchanged emails and started our recruiting conversation, and the call was great. I feel really good moving away from home, I feel like I'm in good hands going there and being part of her team and having her as my head coach. After the visit, meeting all the girls, meeting all the coaches, I knew it was where I wanted to go."

If there was any hesitation previously, Layton doesn't show it now as she prepares to make the move east.

"I'm very grateful and super-excited that I get to come play for Winnipeg and play for Alyssa."

Layton is a two-time member of Team Alberta, having played on the U15 provincial team and then the Canada Games team, an opportunity that came about when she eschewed a larger role with the U17 team last summer in favour of playing on a bigger stage. 

"Being that it only happens every four years, I really wanted to take the opportunity to go to the Canada Games … and it was just such an amazing experience. I loved playing with them and training with them, and just competing at that level was a great experience for me. And I feel like it was a good in-between step between high school and university."

Layton came up in the Develop Dinos club system, an experience she said gave her an early indication she wanted to take basketball as far as she could. 

"At first it was kind of just a fun thing, but being coached by university coaches and players at that young age really made me set my goal to play post-secondary basketball," she said. 

"Ever since I started my club career, being exposed to that level, I knew that I wanted to go (to university) eventually and that was always going to be something I wanted to achieve."

Cox believes Layton will provide the Wesmen with a varied skill set on both ends of the floor. 

"We're very excited to add Tana to our recruiting class and program," Cox said. "She brings the ability to defend and knock down the three and has a great mix of experience playing as a primary scorer in high school and as a 3-and-D guard on the Alberta gold medal winning Canada Games team. Her strength, skill and athleticism allow her to immediately fit with the team and be a foundational player with our program in the future.

Layton is the latest recruit in a class that includes Douglas College transfer Carmen Hiebert, River East's Jen Kallon, Beliveau's Jazmin Birch, Sisler's Alyssa Doneza and Fort Erie International Academy's Jasia Hayden. 

Source: https://wesmen.ca/news/2023/5/15/recruiting-meeting-with-coach-team-convinces-alberta-gold-medallist-to-pick-wesmen.aspx

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