Daniel Horton Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Including the postseasons, there are 21 days of volleyball matches and 11 days of golf tournaments scheduled on the Havre High Blue Pony calendars. And with that not even including practices, an athlete’s time would be at a premium. But Havre High senior Courtney Kinholt has managed a way to juggle not only both varsity sports during the same season, but also school and life. In recent HHS history there has been a handful of student athletes who attempted similar feats, but none of quite reached the level of success that Kinholt has. Scott Robinson took on swimming and basketball at the same time during his freshman year. But after only one year, he narrowed his focus to swimming where he found success as and Class A All State swimmer. Connie Dahlin was a little less recent than Robinson, but also found success in a two-sport season. In the early 1990’s, Dahlin ran on the girls’ cross country team, as well as played basketball for the Ponies. She was an Class A All State basketball player and even took here skills to the East-West game. But in the same year, off the courts she was a member of the state champion HHS crosscountry team. Participating in two varsity sports during the same season isn’t a common scenario, especially in bigger schools. It just takes a special athlete who can handle the rigorous schedule and has the ability to perform in two totally different surroundings. “It’s fun because I am doing good in both of them,” Kinholt said. “When you are doing good you are having fun. It gets really tiring going from one sport to the next, and it’s very hard to keep up on my schoolwork. I’ll have to go to one tournament and wake up the next morning and go to the other sport's tournament. It gets tiring and stressful sometimes.” To be able to participate in both sports, it took some work at the beginning of the season. Before taking part in the first golf tournament Kinholt had to have five days of practice under her belt. And for volleyball, 10 was the magic number of practices she needed before taking the court. And the 15 practices couldn’t be for either sport. They were sport specific, which meant she needed to be flexible with her time and very understanding coaches. “They (Havre High Head coach Melanie Walker and Havre High head golf coach Jeff Jensen) are both awesome,” Kinholt said. “They both worked around my schedule.” Kinholt has found success in both volleyball and golf. But she has also found success in tennis, where she was part of the state champion doubles duo with Hayley Donovan a year ago. And the success at the varsity level is a key reason Kinholt is pushing herself through two fall sports. Kinholt was also part of only the second girls state championship in tennis in school history last spring. “I love tennis,” Kinholt said “But I thought I would branch off and try something that was out of my zone. And golf, I had never played so it was fun to try something new and meet new people.” So she did. But injury also played a roll in Kinholt’s decision to try out for the golf team. Last year after undergoing knee surgery, she was unable to play volleyball as she had planned. And it was her competitive spirit that kept her from doing nothing at all. The first practice last season was the first time Kinholt had ever played the game of golf. And she had no idea she would be so successful. Now she is a top HHS golfer, and had the privilege of being named an All Conference and All State golfer in here rookie debut season last fall. “When I first started out thinking I would try golf,” Kinholt said. “I didn’t really know if I would be any good at all. I thought I might be terrible, but I decided to try it.” This season Kinholt has also made it back to the state level, but she will be the first to tell you it was more dif- ficult than a year ago. Due to volleyball, when she took part in divisionals it had been nearly a month since she had participated in a golf tournament. “That was harder,” Kinholt said “But I still did ok. I did find it a lot harder not being just focused on golf, and playing both sports at the same time.” In a situation that appears to have its fare share of negatives, it also has its share of positives. And the positives have to out way the negatives, or Kinholt wouldn’t’ be doing what she's doing this year. This season her knee was back to 100 percent, which meant volleyball was back on the table. She had a choice to make, and feels like she made the right one. “I think that I will look back at this and be proud that I did both,” Kinholt said. “I was torn between the two, and I didn’t know which one to play. So I thought that maybe I could play both.” The decision was based mainly on what would make her happy. Yes college applications came into the picture, but the choice to take on such a task was a goal she set for herself. There aren’t many high school students that would, or could sacrifice the time and strength it takes to perform at the varsity level, let alone in two corresponding sports. But if she had to make the decision over again, Kinholt wouldn’t change a thing. “It just feels like such a good accomplishment,” Kinholt said. “Knowing I can pull this off.” Kinholt will participate in the 2009 Class A state golf tournament Monday and Tuesday in Kalispell. Then rejoin the HHS volleyball team for its match Oct. 23 against Conrad.