Kirkpatrick’s drive to succeedPublished 9:04pm Thursday, July 5, 2012
Somebody forgot to tell Haley Kirkpatrick that Southland High School is on its summer break.
Kirkpatrick, who lives in Dexter, has still been in Southland on a daily basis this summer as she’s worked on the strength and conditioning program, participated in basketball shootarounds, attended basketball workouts on Tuesday nights, attended volleyball workouts on Friday nights and she also sneaks in the occasional softball workout.
Even with that workload, Kirkpatrick still finds time to play on the Rochester Heat AAU basketball team.
“It’s tiring, but it helps,” said Kirkpatrick, who will be a senior at Southland this fall. “It’s basically like I’m going to school all week during the summer. I want to get better and I want to play on winning teams. I hate losing and we’re capable of going far this year.”
Kirkpatrick’s best sport is basketball and the Rebels have seen their fair share of regular season success on the hardwood in the past two seasons. Southland even won its first ever Three Rivers Title this past season, but Blue Earth ended Southland’s season in Adams each of the last two years.
Kirkpatrick said she’s doing what she can now to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
“I’m getting sick of losing on our home court in the second round,” Kirkpatrick said. “We want to make it to Mankato and that’s a big goal of ours.”
Kirkpatrick was a bit undersized at center this past season, but she still put up 10.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, while battling against taller opponents. This summer she’s working more on her perimeter game as she’d like to play guard at the college level.
“I’ve been working on ball handling and being a defensive stopper,” Kirkpatrick said. “As a guard you’ve got to be a lot quicker and your decision making must be quicker. As a center, you battle more inside with the bigger girls, especially because I’m a smaller post. It gets pretty rough sometimes, but I like proving (bigger centers) wrong.”
Kirkpatrick, who hit .364 with 5 doubles and 19 RBIs while catching for the Rebels softball team this past spring, has been into sports her whole life. She recalls watching her two older sisters Nicole, who is 10 years older and Tiffany, who is eight years older, playing sports when she was younger.
Those two also gave plenty of coaching advice to Kirkpatrick as she grew older.
“It’s weird playing varsity now because I always looked up to them playing on the big court,” Kirkpatrick said. “I learned a lot from watching them play.”
As Kirkpatrick continues to work away her summer, she’s hoping she’ll draw some attention from colleges. So far she’s heard from a few Division III schools, but she’s going to wait for something she likes before making her final decision.
Kirkpatrick has seen college games in person before and knows what it will take for her to play at the next level.
“It’s a lot quicker and there’s not any weak links on a college team,” she said. “You have to be able to compete to play at that level. The mental part of the game is way quicker than what it is in high school, because you’ll only have a second to make a decision.”
If Kirkpatrick keeps working as hard as she has been, she may very well be dealing with those quick decisions at the college level sooner than she thinks.