This edition of Five Questions & Quick Hitters is with Olivia Walsh. Olivia is a recent Minnesota-Crookston commit in the 2023 class and is out of Austin High School (MN) and So-Minn Fury 2023. Thanks for your time Olivia!
1. Congratulations on your recent commitment to Minnesota-Crookston. What were some of the main reasons you chose to attend Crookston and play for Coach Roysland?
I chose Crookston because of the coaching staff, the campus, and the team. First, ever since I first got in contact with the coaches, they emphasized an interest in me as a person over a player. They were also incredibly welcoming and accommodating when I came on my visit. I am excited to continue to get to know them before next fall. Second, Crookston has a beautiful campus with great on campus living. And finally, there’s a lot of new players this year so there will be some consistency in the roster for a few years.
2. After winning the Consolation Championship last year with Austin, the team will look different, but still have some key pieces, including yourself returning. What are your expectations for yourself this season, and what are some of your team goals for 2022-23?
This season will definitely be different. We will look to some younger girls to step up to fill roles at the varsity level. Last year, we had a very experienced starting 5 which was great for the younger girls to see, but made it hard for them to get the experience they needed. We have some very adaptable players though so I have no doubt they will adjust quickly. For myself personally, I hope to score my 1,000th point this season and keep improving me defensive stats as well. As a team, I think we will be underestimated this year and I think we could be in the running for a Big 9 title this year.
3. You are also an outstanding track athlete who competed at the State Tournament last season. What do you see as the biggest advantages you gain being a multi-sport talent and did you ever encounter any struggles, especially in the spring, with time constraints between track and club basketball?
Last school year, I worked really hard to make it to all three of my sports state tournament (swimming, basketball and track), The biggest advantage I feel I have is the cross training benefits of being in really good cardio shape and working different muscle groups in each sport. While I view this as a benefit, it also can be a drawback due to going straight into the next sport season without having any downtime. For example, last Spring my legs were pretty tired during track meets due to stacking AAU basketball over the season. However, this has taught me to rest when I can but to continue to push myself physically.
4. Last club season you played with So-Minn Fury 2023, a talented group that saw a lot of success on the court. What were some of your favorite memories from last season with your teammates, on or off the court?
My So-Fury team greatly improved from the first tournament to the last. I enjoyed playing with new people and seeing ourselves get better week after week. We lost a lot of close games at the beginning of the season, but we were able to start pulling them out the last month or two. We also had a lot of fun in Chicago going out to eat and hanging out in the hotel. I owe a lot of my development as a player to this program, even though I was only there for two years. I had great coaches and teammates who helped grow my skillset to what it is now.
5. The girls basketball team in Austin has undoubtedly had an impact on the young girls in the community. What advice would you give those young players who hope to see the success on the court that you and your teammates have achieved?
Our youth program is currently struggling to get girls to come out for basketball so we’ve been working on bringing the numbers back up. But my biggest advice would be just to stick with it. There will always be hard times where it would be easier to just give it up but this sport has given me some of my best friends and favorite memories. You get out what you put in, so if you want to be successful, its important to learn how to work hard at the beginning of your career.
1. Favorite visiting High School gym to play at: Kasson-Mantorville
2. Favorite place you've traveled to for a basketball game or event: Las Vegan
3. Most annoying celebrity: JoJo Siwa
4. Go-to hype song: Black Skinhead by Kanye West
5. Last thing you lost: A shoe
6. Favorite Actor or Actress: Morgan Wallen
7. Person you text the most: My Dad
8. Last Google search: Tracking my Amazon package
9. Favorite zoo animal: Zebra
10. Favorite Holiday: Christmas. Hands down.