After a decorated career as a three-sport athlete at Soldotna High School, Katelynn Kerkvliet will be taking her athletic talents to the basketball team at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Kerkvliet, the daughter of Dave Kerkvliet and Cari Friendshuh, was on a state-qualifying team three of her four years on the SoHi basketball squad. The 6-foot-1 center began to see starting time as a sophomore.
This season, she was MVP of the Doc Larson Roundball Classic, an all-Northern Lights Conference performer and a second-team all-state player as the Stars finished fourth at the Class 4A tournament. Kerkvliet was named the MVP of the basketball team.
Kerkvliet also started for three seasons in volleyball, helping the Stars to an NLC title as a junior. She also earned all-conference honors in volleyball.
She is currently finishing up her prep career on the soccer pitch, where she has started since her freshman season. She has been the goalie since her sophomore season.
The Stars qualified for state in Kerkvliet’s first three seasons, and are undefeated this season. Kerkvliet earned second-team all-conference honors last season.
She was recently named the Athlete of the Year for SoHi, along with Julie Litchfield.
Kerkvliet committed to the University of Mary in late April. She said Principal Todd Syverson and Matt Johnson, the athletic director, went to the University of Mary and got her looking in that direction.
The university has 3,000 students and is situated in a city of about 65,000.
“It was a good-sized school for me,” Kerkvliet said. “The town is really nice and everybody was really nice and welcoming.”
She also is excited that her best friend, Kelci Benson, will be joining her there. Benson also starred for the basketball and soccer teams, but will be concentrating on earning a nursing degree at the University of Mary.
The Marauders play at the NCAA Division II level and won a national championship in 2000. Over the past 20 years, the team has posted only two losing campaigns.
Kerkvliet is walking on her first year, then looking to get a scholarship as a sophomore.
“I’m really excited for a new challenge,” she said. “I want to see if I can step up to the plate.
“I think I can do it if I work hard next year and see if I can get my spot.”
Kerkvliet said she will have to get stronger physically and mentally to play basketball at that level.
Kerkvliet, who posted a 3.7 cumulative grade-point average at Soldotna, will go into business administration.
She said the University of Mary has a great business school and also is noted for teaching students to be leaders.
“I’m really excited,” Kerkvliet said. “I think it’s going to be a great fit.”