Weekend Softball Series Caps Holtorf Family’s GCU Legacy
By Cooper Nelson
Following in a loved one’s footsteps can be difficult, but Kara Holtorf sees it as a birthright in a family of softball and baseball players.
Holtorf, a senior softball outfielder, succeeded five student athlete relatives at GCU — her sister, two brothers and two cousins.
This season, she leads the team in runs scored (45) and is among the best hitters on the team (.370 average as of Friday). She started all four seasons at GCU, coming into this season batting a .315 average over her collegiate career.
Holtorf said her older family members influenced her decision to join GCU (33-16, 20-6 PacWest), which closes out the regular season with a pair of noon doubleheaders Friday and Saturday against Dixie State (23-5 PacWest) at Stapleton-Pierson Stadium.
“They all kind of played back to back to back,” Holtorf said. “I didn’t really have anywhere else I planned on going to besides GCU.”
The Holtorfs were known as solid role players rather than superstar athletes, but Kara said her relatives positively impacted their teams.
Tana Holtorf patrolled the same outfield as her younger sister, Kara said, for two of her four years at GCU from 2006-2009.
“She played center and I played left,” Kara Holtorf said. “It was cool to be able to play with my sister.”
Brothers Troy and Kyle Holtorf played baseball at GCU from 2002-2005. Cousins Ryan and Ronnie Holtorf played for the Antelopes in the late 1990s. The boys were fixtures at softball games, cheering Kara and Tana on during their games.
They even showed up to a softball playoff game in California during Kara’s sophomore year with their faces paintedpurple.
Kara Holtorf, who played at Peoria’s Sunrise Mountain High School, said she also settled on attending GCU because she was drawn to the school’s Christian tradition, professors and morals.
Holtorf graduates this spring with a degree in secondary education. She believes that after softball, she might take a shot at coaching at Sunrise Mountain.
“I would like to try to be the grad assistant, or coach at my old high school,” said Kara, adding that she wants to ensure that the ‘Lopes make the 2012 playoffs and make a deep run.
The Lopes play Dixie State this weekend with a playoff berth on the line. GCU needs to win three of the four games to place second in their division and make the postseason. GCU needs to win three of the four games to earn an automatic qualifier for the NCAA postseason. The ’Lopes can also earn one of five at-large berths in the West Region.
“It’s the first time they have come to us,” Kara Holtorf said. “We always go to them.”
Holtorf and the Lopes need support Friday and Saturday as they get set to play Dixie State to make a push into the playoffs. GCU needs to win three of the four games to earn an automatic qualifier for the NCAA postseason. The ’Lopes can also earn one of five at-large berths in the West Region.
Making the playoffs would help Holtorf keep up her family tradition of excellence in baseball and softball at GCU.