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Holl signs with Northeastern Oklahoma A&M

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Roswell’s Kaitlyn Holl signs her letter of intent to play basketball at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. From left in front is mother Terrie Holl, Kaitlyn Holl, Terry Holl father, Kelsey Nesmith sister. Back row L-R Coach Baca, coach Sanchez, and coach Batista. (Submitted Photo)

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Roswell’s Kaitlyn Holl had her choice of any sport she wanted to play at the next level. She was All-District in volleyball, All-State in track in the triple jump and was All-District in basketball.

One of the things that were a determining factor in making her decision was that she loves basketball. It was no surprise on Monday that she signed a letter of intent to continue her athletic career in basketball at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M on a full athletic scholarship. Northeastern Oklahoma A&M is a Division I junior college.

“Every since I was little, basketball has been my favorite sport,” Holl said. “I like that it is a contact sport, and it is definitely not an easy game to play. I like that it is challenging.”

After the Lady Coyotes made it to state last season, they lost four starters off last year’s state Final Four team. Last season her role was different as she played alongside Gatorade Player of the Year Jaedyn De La Cerda.

“I think my role this year is a lot bigger than last year,” Holl said. “One of the main challenging parts is to lead the team and not lose control and to always keep my composure.”

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Holl’s role has changed to where she has become the team’s go-to player. Most of the time when Roswell needs a big stop on the defensive end of the floor, or to take a big shot, her teammates look for her. Holl leads the team in scoring and in block shots.

“I think she has done a really good job,” Roswell coach Fernando Sanchez said. “She has improved her scoring and rebounding from last year. She has improved in the leadership role for us. I think the best part about her is she has a lot more room to improve on those things.”

Sanchez thinks the Lady Norse are getting a player on the rise, with room to grow. Holl has improved in playing through her emotions and channeling it to the game. Sanchez remembers when Roswell played Artesia, and Holl picked up her second foul with four minutes left in the second quarter; Sanchez looked at her, pointed toward his head and left her in the game. Holl stayed in the game and did not pick up her third foul until she had to foul with a minute left in the game.

Holl’s play has progressed this season because it took her some time to get into basketball shape after playing volleyball. She feels it took her a little time to adjust to the next level of basketball. As the season wore on, she started feeling more comfortable as she was able to get her shot back and her legs under her. Holl worked on her technique this summer and the way her shot is released. It is important for her to keep her elbow in on free throws and three-point shots.

“I see what the defense gives me,” Holl said, “My favorite thing is taking someone one-on-one and driving to the basket. If they don’t rush out at me, then I have my shot to look forward to.”

Holl has been on the honor roll ever since she has been in high school, with a 4.0 GPA. Once her athletic career is over, Holl wants to become a trauma surgeon. Her first step will be to major in biology and then go pre-med.

“She’s a state champion in track,” Sanchez said. “She’s a state champion in basketball and been to the Final Four twice in volleyball. So, you’re talking about a kid who has a lot going for her athletically. She’s one of the most athletic kids we have had here in a long time. I don’t think that holds a candle to what she has done academically.”

With three regular-season games left and one district tournament game left, Holl wants to make sure that her teammates are on the same page. Holl feels like their defense is the catalyst for their offense. And she has given thought to the last time she will wear her school colors at home.

“I’m going to miss playing here,” Holl said. “I’m going to miss my family and friends and the environment. I know my parents are going to miss watching me play.”

Holl sent Northern Oklahoma A&M some tape of her game this summer. Lady Norse head coach Jim Rowland invited her out to tour the campus and to participate in some of the drills with their players. When she got there, the coach only wanted her to shoot around and watch practice, but after watching her shoot, he let her join in some drills, and she ended up practicing with them for two hours.

“I like the fact that she’s an athlete,” Rowland said. “I told her we’re going to break her game down and build it back up to get the best out of her. I believe she can defend hard like we do here, she can run and shoot it. I think if she buys into what we’re selling: discipline and hard work, she can go to the next level.”

Coach Rowland told Holl, she has a lot of potential, and felt like he could help her take her game to the next level. Rowland offered her a full scholarship. His team is 18-4 overall this season and 10-0 in league play. After playing at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, Holl’s goal is to play at a Division I school.

“I really liked him as a coach,” Holl said. “I liked the school itself. It’s in Miami, Oklahoma. It is an hour away from Tulsa, and I have family there, so that will be good. It is also 20 minutes away from Joplin, Missouri.”

One of the things Holl will miss is her rivalry against Goddard. She likes the atmosphere when they play each other, and thinks it makes the games fun and more competitive. She has played with Allie French and Camarynn Villalpando on travel teams and has known them since middle school.

Kaitlyn said she feels thankful for her parents, Terry and Terrie Holl, for being so supportive and pushing her to do her best in everything she undertakes. She heeds their advice that to be successful in life, she will have to work hard to achieve her goals, that nothing will be handed to her. With that kind of support, she feels it will help her stay hungry in attaining her goals.

Holl’s favorite memory in basketball is when Roswell won state her sophomore year.

“I’ve enjoyed RHS,” Holl said. “I have nothing but great memories. One of my coaches told me that ‘you can’t sharpen a knife with butter.’ And you can get your goals by working hard.”