WKTV - The birthday of the United States of America is Friday and while few athletes are lucky enough to don the red, white and blue, one local girl did that recently.
Samantha Kogut graduated from V-V-S last weekend, but just days earlier she was in Austria, playing for the American International Sports Teams (AIST) Under-19 Volleyball team.
On Wednesday, she stopped by WKTV to talk with Sports Director Mike Levin about her experiences.
On becoming part of the team: "It was awesome, I went there not knowing anybody, just contacted one of the girls who messaged me, snapchatted me, facebooked me everyday. I went there not knowing anybody or how they played. We got there and we all just clicked. I wish they all were closer, because I got really close with them within a few days."
Representing the US in Austria: "We would be walking down the streets and chanting USA and all these people would come and cheering and we'd be like cool! I honestly did not know that many people liked the USA."
On the competition: "Those girls are crazy, huge. I thought I was pretty tall, but when you stand next to them you're like great. When you're out there and you start doing it you're nerves kick in, but as soon as you're out there you just forget about everything and you just go hard."
On coming up short at the tournament: "We went out there saying we were going to win every game, but we stayed pretty close with all of them. Honestly I don't regret anything. I don't know if my coach does or the other girls, but I'm just happy to be out there."
On the experience as a whole: "Take any opportunity you can get, because it changes your life. I'm so happy I got to experience everything I did at VVS, Europe, it was just awesome. And I'd like to say thank you to my mom and dad for everything they've done."
Samantha will be heading to Keuka College in the fall to play volleyball.