From hoops to lax, Ewert moves forward

Pleasant Ridge High graduate Holly Ewert has had quite the time since moving on to Ottawa University.

After graduating from high school in 2015, Ewert matriculated over to her next stop with hopes of playing college basketball for the Braves, then things changed.

“I tore my left ACL on Nov. 9, playing against Neosho County Community College,” Ewert said of that night on the Ottawa junior varsity team. “It happened within the first three minutes of the game. I went to go step off to push the ball up the sideline and when I pushed is when it tore. The funny thing is, I tore my right ACL sophomore year of high school and my left ACL sophomore year of college. We call it the sophomore curse.”

Ewert never had a chance to play varsity for the Braves’ hoops’ team and entering her junior year that might have changed. She decided to play lacrosse instead.

“The reason I left basketball is complicated,” Ewert said. “Don’t get me wrong, I still love basketball with a passion, but it was my time to go. I have been playing basketball ever since you could sign up for youth league. I was getting burned out. I could tell that my mentality and my drive for playing the game was not the same as it once was. It was a very hard decision to make but I knew it was the right one not only mentally but physically too.  

“I have never played lacrosse before and it is fairly new at Ottawa University. My first year at school I became really close to a friend who played and watching her play got me interested in it. The reason I decided to switch to lacrosse is because it is three different sports put into one game – hockey, soccer and basketball. It is a really big challenge and way out of my comfort zone and those are two things I love. I am always up for a big challenge and I thrive getting out of my comfort zone. Plus, the coach (Brittany Frankenfield) and my teammates are amazing.”  

All told, her time at Ottawa has been a blast.

“Ottawa has treated me really well from my time being there,” Ewert said. “It has opened my eyes to new experiences and has given me a lot of opportunities, whether that’s meeting new friends, competing in sports or joining a new organization. 

“Outside of sports, I am involved with Campus Ministries, Be Brave Bystander Intervention, Student Senate and a horse wrangler at Camp Chippewa. With basketball, I was signed as a shooting guard and that is the position I played for a year and a half. Now with lacrosse I play an attack position. Some highlights just over the past two years were gaining some amazing friendships that I know will last a lifetime and being able to have so many doors opened for me. With basketball, it was getting hyped before games and our basketball team trip we took to Las Vegas this past winter.”

The college sports experience has also been quite the challenge for Ewert.  

“I knew coming into college sports that there was going to be some big differences and there was,” Ewert said. “The workouts were intense and the two practices a day were grueling, but I think mentally preparing myself for it made it easier. Something I was not expecting was how close I became to my teammates. We had a bond that was unbreakable and it really does feel like family. They are always there.

“Choosing to go to Ottawa University had to be one of the best decisions I made. I am getting a great education, majoring in human services and psychology, gaining amazing friends and having a great team and teammates – both in basketball and lacrosse. The amazing part is this is all a part of God's plan for my life and that gives me comfort.”

She can also take comfort in looking back on her days at Pleasant Ridge High.

“I remember the bond I had with my teammates knowing where they would be on the court if I needed them,” Ewert said. “I remember how coach (Mike) Koontz, coach Melissa Koontz and coach Heim knew me better than I knew myself. I remember looking into the stands and seeing familiar faces who had so much faith in us and cheering us on. But mostly I remember going into the stands before each game and giving my family a hug and them whispering ‘good luck’ or ‘go knock ‘em dead’ to me because I know without them, none of this would be possible.”