ASHWAUBENON – Kate Rolling’s teammates call her “Captain Kate, the Great.”
The Ashwaubenon senior is a bit bashful when she hears the nickname.
“I didn’t give it to myself,” she said. “It kind of just stuck.”
The 5-foot-7 guard stuck to her rehab plan to experience a great moment with her team last week when she checked into a basketball game for the first time this season. It completed her comeback from an anterior cruciate ligament tear in her left knee six months ago.
A two-year captain for the Jaguars, Rolling has been a great leader on and off the court.
The National Honor Society student ranks in the top 10 in her class with a 3.99 GPA and is vice president of student council in addition to being a coordinator for school blood drives.
Rolling discusses her interest in the medical field, returning from an ACL tear and helping her young team get on a roll in this week’s Senior Spotlight.
How did it feel to check into a game for the first time last Tuesday against Bay Port?
It was fast-paced and I really felt like I picked it up right away. I didn’t feel there was too big of a gap. It was so exciting and such a relief to get back out there. All the work the past six months was totally worth it when I got back in.
Did you realistically think when you tore your ACL in the summer that you would be able to return for your senior season?
I didn’t know if I would get back in time or what my timeline would be. But I worked my butt off and said, “I know I can be back in six months. I’ll do anything it takes to get back.” If I get in for one more game with my team, that’s all I wanted. To have over half the season left, I’m kind of in shock and so grateful that everything worked out, like surgery went well and rehab. I’m excited to play the rest of the season and make the most of it because you see just how fast it can go.
What’s the biggest improvement you’ve made as a player over the years?
Confidence level. I’m obviously working on it again after my ACL tear. I actually wasn’t even planning on playing high school basketball at first. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to handle the demands of it and not make it through. I never thought I would even be able to play varsity. I think I’ve come a long way.
How did you get involved with the school blood drives?
It’s part of student council. We have three blood drives a year, and I’m one of three coordinators. We set everything up and schedule people. We’re there the whole day for the blood drive and pretty much making sure everything runs smoothly.
What career do you want to pursue?
I’m looking to go into nursing. I’m really set on UW-Madison. I haven’t heard back yet, no one has. I’m looking to take a CNA course this spring and work in the summer as a CNA and, hopefully, get into the nursing program at Madison.
What sparked your interest in that field?
I’ve always loved science and hospitals. I know a lot of people are like, “Oh, no doctors.” Obviously, I didn’t want to tear my ACL and have surgery. But it was so cool to go through the experience and see the nurses and the doctors because I want to go into that field. I was asking them questions like, “How did you get here?” I wanted to make the most of it, too.
You don’t strike me as being squeamish at all, correct?
I love dissection and stuff. In sixth grade, my first one was a pig. Last year, I actually got to dissect a mink. … It’s really fun, but kind of gross. I have anatomy and physiology the second half, and I think we get to maybe look at an eye or something. I’m so excited.
What’s something most people might not know about you?
I played piano for nine years. I can still play today, but I haven’t taken lessons in a while. I like to play the piano and could play some pretty intense Beethoven songs at one point.
What TV game show would you like to be on and why?
Probably “Wheel of Fortune” because I practice every night at dinner with my parents. We really try to work on those puzzles and get them sometimes.
What’s an early sports memory for you?
I remember running around the baseball diamonds and watching my brother. Him playing baseball and me running around and stuff, those were good memories out at Ashwaubomay (Park).
What’s your most embarrassing sports memory?
My first game back, I felt I was pretty far away from the 3-point line and totally airballed a shot. It was horrible. I didn’t bend my legs or jump. I didn’t even know what was happening. I just kind of shot and my legs didn’t know what they were doing.
Which teammate would you bring on a roller coaster?
I would definitely pick Peyton Wright. We’re really close. I like to make “P” laugh and stuff because she really doesn’t like to show emotion all the time, so to have her thrilled and excited and screaming, I would just love to see how she would react.
Who on the team is most likely to be scared of a spider?
Liz Steinhoff. She’s very germophobic, and I think a spider might scare her.
Which teammate would you entrust with a pet?
Autumn Schlader. She would not hurt any pet that I would have. She would take 10 times better care of it than I do.
Who could survive on a deserted island?
Mya Whiters. She’ll go in survival mode and help me out if I had to go with her.
Which teammate is the most likely to be famous?
Maddie Koch. I bet she’ll just be a stud and follow the footsteps of her older brothers.
Koch has strong basketball bloodlines with three older brothers that went on to play at Northern Iowa University. What’s sticks out to you about her progression as a sophomore?
She really stepped up. Last year, she was obviously a little timid coming up as a freshman and playing a little bit on varsity. This year, I’m just amazed how much more confident she is on really taking charge in the post.
What does your team need to do to continue its upward trend in the FRCC?
Every year we’ve just been improving and just getting the confidence that we can compete with the other top teams in the conference. We don’t have to be scared, and continuing to work hard and proving to ourselves that this is what we’re working towards. We can get there if we just keeping working at it and worrying about what we need to do.
TV show: “Parks and Recreation.”
Musician: Lady Gaga.
Childhood toy: Pink blankie.
Athlete: Nigel Hayes.
“The thing about Kate is she makes everybody around her better, in terms of not just being a basketball player, but being a better person with what she does off the court. … Everybody just looks up to her. She’s somebody we’ve tried to build our program around, on the floor and in the classroom as well.”
— Ashwaubenon girls basketball coach Nicky Van Laanen
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