Hogs and Hoops: Hayfield’s Emma Holst has a passion for farming and basketball

Published 8:18 pm Thursday, February 7, 2019

HAYFIELD — Life on the farm isn’t for everyone, but Hayfield senior basketball player Emma Holst wouldn’t have it any other way.

Holst had the game of her life when she scored a Hayfield game record of 44 points with the second most threes in Minnesota State High School League history (11) in a win over Randolph recently and she did it with a mentality that she learned long ago when she began showing pigs in 4-H as a third grader.

Holst has excelled at the Mower County Fair over the years and she won a pair of Show Person Reserve Championships at the state level as well. She used to raise pigs from birth, but in the past few years the Holst family has bought three year old pigs to raise.

Hayfield’s Emma Holst fires a three-pointer against Blooming Prairie in the Hayfield Tournament. Herald File Photo

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Holst said showing pigs at fairs over the years has helped her make a lot of new connections and friendships over the years.

“That whole process has taught me that I can’t just worry about myself, I have to tend for my herd,” Holst said. “Hard work needs to be applied in every aspect of my life.”

Holst doesn’t just show animals, she’s also very informed on them. She participated in a livestock quiz bowl in FFA where she had to learn as many facts as possible on cattle, pigs, sheep and goats.

Holst is also a PSEO student at Riverland Community College, and she’ll likely only have five semesters of school remaining when she enrolls in UW-River Falls next fall to pursue a degree in agriculture.

Holst’s older brother Wyatt, who showed animals along with Emma and their dad, is now a fifth generation farmer as he took over the family farm. Holst may come back and help him manage the farm after school, or she may take another path.

Needless to say, Holst doesn’t have a lot of days off, but that hasn’t slowed her down.

Hayfield’s Emma Holst shows a hog at a Fair. Photo Provided

“I am so blessed to have grown up in this farming family. I try not to take it for granted, because a lot of families don’t get these same experiences,” Holst said. “I make time for basketball because I love playing basketball and it’s something I enjoy doing.”

The Vikings were not exactly projected to be a top team in Section 1A this season after the team graduated most of its lineup from last year’s team that lost to eventual state champions Lyle-Pacelli in the Section 1A title game. Things got worse for Hayfield when projected senior starter Brooke Bungum went down with an injury before the season even began.

But after losing six of their first nine games, the Vikings are catching fire. Hayfield (14-8 overall) has won five straight games and nine of its 11 contests.

“We knew coming into the season we had to figure out our roles. I think it took us a little while to figure it out. We all know our roles on the team now,” Holst said. “The other girls know they can drive and get to the hoop and I can knock it down outside. I’m not the tallest one out there, but I do know that I’m comfortable shooting those three-pointers.”

Holst said she felt like the game went by in a flash when she scored 44 points against Randolph and that momentum carried over to a win over Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton when she scored 25 points and hit seven threes.

“It was unbelievable. The Randolph game was a blur. Everything went by fast and I was just playing basketball,” Holst said. “In the next game I felt like I had to drop some more points. It was a lot of fun playing with the girls. We’ve played together forever and we kind of have a connection.”

Holst said her friends and family have urged her try playing college basketball at UWRF, but she is leaning towards making this season her last one with Hayfield.

Hayfield will host United South Central at 7:15 p.m. Friday.