Duke/North Carolina Rivalry – Waukee Style

Carlie Littlefield and Emma Schmidt were best friends, teammates and really good basketball players for Waukee High School, graduating in 2017.

All of those descriptions are still true today, plus one more, rivals. Carlie’s playing basketball at North Carolina. Emma is just down the road at Duke.

“Obviously we couldn’t be roommates because the rivalry runs too deep,” says Littlefield. 

“I never even dreamed that I would play basketball at Duke,” shares Schmidt. “It’s even more crazy that Carlie is playing at North Carolina at the same time.”

Carlie and Emma got their first taste of the Duke-Carolina rivalry last week. Littlefield’s Tar Heels won round one. Both players say, it was quite the experience.

“Just being in Cameron (Duke’s home arena) for the game, it was so loud,” says Littlefield. “The Cameron Crazies really showed out, that’s a real thing.”

Rivalry round two is a few weeks away. But basketball isn’t the only thing these two are working on.

“We don’t get to see each other quite as much as I thought we would,” shares Schmidt. “That’s just because school has been pretty demanding. I’m studying statistical science and getting my master’s degree.”

Littlefield is earning her MBA at the University of North Carolina. Both of these stellar student athletes credit their experiences at Waukee as significant life lessons. 

“A lot of it is the midwestern grit,” says Littlefield. “Take Emma for example, she’s one of the hardest working people I know and she made it to this level just by putting the work in.”

“My favorite memories are the ones we shared my senior year,” adds Schmidt. “We had seven seniors, you couldn’t separate us. That was a special team.”

Emma and Carlie also mentioned the coaches they played for in Waukee as major players in their development.

“I’ve been keeping up with the Guess family,” shares Littlefield. “That relationship is so important to me. Their mentorship has meant so much to me.”

While Carlie and Emma are now rivals, their siblings aren’t.

“Her brother plays for the Waukee boys team and my sister is a manager for that team,” says Schmidt. “They are also together on the same team, in a different way.”

With a couple of unique wrinkles, this is a story of two Waukee basketball players working really hard to achieve their childhood dreams.

“I spent a lot of mornings getting extra shots up with the Guess family,” says Littlefield. “If you have an interest, put the work in. You never know where that work will take you.”

“When I found out I was going to have the opportunity to walk on at Duke, it was a pretty crazy moment,” says Schmidt. “We were like holy cow, we are going to be playing against each other at the highest level in college basketball, that’s pretty cool.”

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