Kolpitcke set for new adventure

Posted 7/21/20

Kayla Kolpitcke never had much free time during high school. Between playing soccer and ice hockey and running cross country, she was almost always competing in some way.

But that never bothered …

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Kolpitcke set for new adventure


Kayla Kolpitcke never had much free time during high school. Between playing soccer and ice hockey and running cross country, she was almost always competing in some way.

But that never bothered her.

In fact, Kolpitcke has built a legacy around her multi-sport athletic achievements. Kolpitcke earned Powell High School female athlete of the year honors for the 2019-20 school year. During her four years at PHS, she was named to the all-conference teams in soccer and cross country, while also playing hockey for the Park County Ice Cats.

Now, Kolpitcke is just a month away from a new endeavor: The start of her college career at Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. She will play soccer and hockey at the Division III institution.

Just over 1,000 miles stand between Powell and Fond du Lac. But when Kolpitcke visited the Wisconsin school, she knew it was somewhere she could call home, despite its distance from Wyoming.

“Everyone was super welcoming and it was just a really neat experience,” Kolpitcke said. “The town is small and kind of like Powell, so I liked that, and I have family that’s only an hour away.”

“The college is not too small but it feels small,” she added, “so I just really liked the school.”

Playing two sports at the collegiate level is manageable but not common. Most student-athletes choose to hone in on one sport, rather than spreading their skills among multiple.

But Kolpitcke’s time at Powell has prepared her well for this.

“I definitely think I’ve learned to multitask better than some people because there are weekends where I’ve played all three sports and still gotten homework done and things like that,” Kolpitcke said. “I think that’s helped a lot because I’m already going to know how to manage my time and how to handle doing multiple things at once.”

Kolpitcke will now be playing two sports rather than three, so her schedule won’t have as many conflicts. Despite the increased level of play, this might actually make juggling multiple sports easier.

“I only have two or three weeks of overlap there, where in high school, hockey would overlap with soccer and cross country the whole season, so I was constantly doing more than one,” Kolpitcke said. “I’m excited to see how it all turns out.”

More than her experience competing in multiple sports, Kolpitcke has played under countless coaches. Since her youth sports days, Kolpitcke has been taught sport-specific skills and various life lessons from people in several different sports.

This could also facilitate her jump to the college ranks.

“I think it’s good that I’ve gotten so many coaches’ opinions on things,” Kolpitcke said.

While Kolpitcke believes she’s ready for the next step, the months leading up to college haven’t been easy. In the spring, her senior season of soccer was canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kolpitcke planned to use the season to sharpen her abilities, and not having that chance was a tough reality.

“It was really daunting at first,” Kolpitcke said. “I had a list in my head that I needed to work on this and this and this, and I was going to do that and ask for help from my coaches. But sometimes I’ll go to the high school field and do sprint workouts on the field or shooting or ball work.”

Additionally, there was a brief period where gyms were closed due to the pandemic’s strength. This meant Kolpitcke had to slightly change her workout routines.

“Before the gyms were open, I was just running a lot and I would do body-weight workouts in my front yard,” Kolpitcke said. “Since the gyms opened back up, sometimes I’ll run to the gym and do a workout there and run back.”

It will be a new life for Kolpitcke in Wisconsin. She will be the new face on a new campus and strive to become a leader.

But Kolpitcke’s father, Scott, doesn’t think that will be a problem.

“I see her leading by example,” Scott Kolpitcke said. “She is a hard worker, and is very competitive. As she gains more experience, she will hopefully have an opportunity to grow into a leadership role as she did with her teams in high school.”

In addition to her work ethic, Kolpitcke’s positive attitude will have an impact on Marian’s locker room.

“Not only does she work hard,  she is also a very friendly and positive person,” said Ashley Hildebrand, who coaches cross country at PHS. “I think that she will motivate her teammates and become a leader, not only in the vocal sense, but she will also lead by example.”

Kolpitcke’s legacy is already cemented in Powell. It’s now almost time for her to build on that legacy halfway across the country.

“I asked and I’m the only person from Wyoming at that university, so I’m kind of excited for that,” Kolpitcke said. “The level of play is going to be higher obviously, but I really think it’s going to be kind of familiar to me. I’m just excited for the new place and new people and getting to compete.”