Weatherford Sports

Lithuanian Lady Coyotes rely on each other to acclimate to new home

Greta Kairyte and Severija Narkute, both from Lithuania, have comforted each other on and off the court at Weatherford College.
Greta Kairyte and Severija Narkute, both from Lithuania, have comforted each other on and off the court at Weatherford College. Courtesy photo

Being in a new town can be a little bit scary.

Being in a new country can be even more so.

It helps when there's a friend from the same place, like what Weatherford College basketball players Severija Narkute and Greta Kairyte have with each other. The WC freshmen, both from Lithuania, have relied on their friendship to help them acclimate to the United States, Texas, and life in college basketball.

"I would get homesick, but now someone is here who feels the same way I do, and we find comfort in each other," said Narkute. "Our friendship has gotten very strong."

Narkute, a 5-foot-8-inch guard, was actually in America before Kairyte. Before coming to Weatherford College, she spent her senior year of high school at St. Johnsbury Academy, a prep school in Vermont. She also spent her sophomore year in Maryland, returning to Lithuania as a junior to nurse an injury.

"She's helping me get used to the culture," said Kairyte, a 6-foot-3-inch post/forward. "The biggest adjustment was the language."

Narkute and Kairyte knew each other before Weatherford College, meeting through basketball circles back in Lithuania. They've known each other about three years, never realizing they'd end up being college teammates.

Or did they?

Both are also acquaintances of former Lady Coyote Toma Zaleckaite, also from Lithuania. Kairyte played on the same city team as Zaleckaite in Balanga, Lithuania. Narkute, who was born in Balanga and still goes to her family's summer home there, met Zaleckaite in a tournament.

Both were told what a great place Weatherford College is to play basketball and attend school.

"We stayed in touch, mostly through Facebook, and she'd come back in the summer and we'd hang out," said Kairyte.

Narkute made her way to Weatherford College. Soon after, she talked Kairyte into following her.

"Coach Bob [McKinley] asked me if I knew Greta, and I said I believe I can talk her into coming here, so I did," said Narkute, smiling and nodding at her friend.

Now that they are here, they are helping each other enjoy the experience to the fullest.

"We listen to Lithuanian music, we speak Lithuanian to each other on the court," said Narkute, adding with a laugh, "And we can talk about other people without them knowing what we're saying."

As for their majors, Kairyte wants to either be a police officer or a basketball coach, prompting Narkute to joke, "She could coach policemen."

"I like both. I'll decide later," Kairyte fires back, chuckling. "Maybe I will do both."

Narkute wants to do something with language, she said. She speaks Lithuanian, English and some Russian, and is learning Spanish.

"Maybe international studies," she said. "I always wanted to work in the embassy when I grew up."

Where they will go next is undecided. If they could possibly stay together, they'd love it, but for now they have one more year as Lady Coyotes.

"I like Texas, it's warm and sunny," said Narkute. "We'll figure all that out later. We're having fun here now."