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10-year-old Jamestown girl sings national anthem at UJ game

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Braelon Geerdes, left, at Wednesday night’s NSAA women’s basketball quarterfinal game between the University of Jamestown against Waldorf University at Harold Newman Arena. Braelon, 10, sang the national anthem as her mother, Tara Geerdes, and grandparents, Tex and Sharyln Geerdes watched. Tom LaVenture / The Sun2 / 2

A 10-year-old Jamestown girl said she is getting used to singing before large crowds and has a routine to keep her from getting nervous.

“I just have to take deep breaths to calm myself,” said Braelon Geerdes, a fourth-grade student at St. John’s Academy, who was invited to sing the national anthem Wednesday at Harold Newman Arena. It’s the fourth time in two years that she’s been asked to sing it.

Braelon sang prior to the NSAA women’s basketball quarterfinal game between the University of Jamestown against Waldorf University. UJ defeated Waldorf University 100-39 and will advance to the semifinal game against Mayville State University on Feb. 24.

“I’m excited for her,” said Tara Geerdes, Braelon’s mother. “I’m very proud of her.”

Braelon is musically and artistically talented, she said. She dances, plays guitar and piano along with singing, she said.

Tex Geerdes, Braelon’s grandfather, said this performance was special in that four UJ senior basketball players requested to have her sing the national anthem. Braelon has gotten close to McKayla Orr and Paige Emmel, who were child care teachers at her school.

“So that’s a special thing and we’re just as proud as we can be,” he said. “She has improved with each time she’s done it.”

Braelon was also invited to sing the national anthem for the UJ women’s basketball playoff and championship games in 2017, said Sharyln Geerdes, her grandmother.

Braelon, who was diagnosed with epilepsy, a neurological disorder, in third grade, formed Team Brealon. Together with family and friends, she has held bake sales and appeared in parades to bring awareness and to support the Epilepsy Foundation.

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