By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Writer
McKinney North senior Holly Gardner signed her letter of intent Thursday night to play for Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas.
Joined alongside by Bulldogs coach Lance Lovell and her father John Gardner, Holly says she is excited about becoming a Lady Yellow Jacket next fall but admits to being a little nervous about the major changes in her future.
“Well it’s really exciting and nerve-racking. It is a big step from high school to college and especially high school soccer to college soccer,” says Holly.
Holly was a defender on the girl’s soccer team at North and finished the 2012 season with one goal and four assists for the Lady Bulldogs.
Holly also considered the University of North Texas, Dallas Baptist University, and Sam Houston State, but Howard Payne offered something that no other university could provide: a family connection.
“Her brother, Kelly, actually graduated from North last year and attended his first year at Howard Payne and was on the boys team,” said her father John. “I guess just through some exposure they started showing some interest in her.”
In fact, her parents heavily pushed for Holly to join her brother at HPU because now they won’t ever miss a game of their two college athletes.
“It is very cool for us as parents because now we have two at the same school and the women play right before the men do, so we will be able to go even to out-of-state games and watch Holly play and then stay and watch Kelly play.”
Holly plans on majoring in criminal justice while at HPU, a subject she found interest in after taking a criminal justice class junior year. In fact, she was a part of the criminal justice club at North her senior year, where she was able to see the McKinney jail and courthouse and get some exposure to the world of criminal justice.
When asked what was one thing she was excited about and one she was nervous about, Holly says she is not as excited about the classroom part of college as she is the soccer part.
“I’m excited about meeting new people and playing soccer, and I am nervous about the school work.”
Congrats to the entire Gardner family from everyone here at TSB!