Meet the freshmen: Holly Kern
Nov. 16, 2012
Alex Hubbard, Texas Media Relations
AUSTIN, Texas - Holly Kern was a four-year starter at Plano East High School. During her career, the Panthers made two appearances in the University Interscholastic League State Softball Tournament, in 2009 and 2012.
As a senior in 2012, Kern was named the District 8-5A Most Valuable Player and Dallas Morning News Softball Player of the Year.
Kern, the No. 32 overall recruit in the 2012 ESPN High School Softball 100 rankings, was rated as the second-best high school pitcher in Texas and the eighth-best pitcher in the nation. As a senior, Kern earned a place on the ESPNHS First-Team All-America squad and was named to the 2012 MaxPreps All-American First Team.
As a pitcher and first baseman, Kern is expected to contribute for the Longhorns in the circle, in the field and at the plate this spring. Fellow newcomer Rachel Scott (INF/UTIL) was a teammate of Kern's at Plano East.
Kern spent some time with TexasSports.com this week as she prepares for her first season as a Longhorn.
What brought you to Texas? My whole family went to Texas Tech. My dad had like seven brothers who went to Tech, and all their kids went to Tech. But there's something about Texas.
I had been going to the [softball] camp since I was in sixth grade. Something about Texas just drew me here. I guess I was kind of the "rebel" child because I wanted to go to Texas, but I loved it. And then when I came on my visit, I just felt like it was meant to be.
What has been the best part of the softball program so far? Getting to know everybody and the family atmosphere. I feel we all get along very well, and that's what I enjoy. And the coaches are awesome.
What has it been like to play for Coach Clark, Coach Hill and Coach McFalls so far? I really have enjoyed playing for them. They are exactly as they were during the recruiting process. I really like that. They don't yell and they are not in your face, but they get the point across. They are fun to practice with.
How has working with Coach Clark in the bullpen helped so far? She does a very good job of picking out pitch by pitch what I am doing wrong. And I can feel it sometimes, but sometimes I can't. So she does a really good job of saying, "Well, what do you think you did that time?"
And if I can't explain it, then she does a good job of telling me what I need to focus on for the next pitch. She has a good eye for stuff like that. She doesn't force ideas on you. She is just really easy to talk back and forth with about different pitching styles.
What are the big differences between academic life at UT and academic life in high school? I went to a pretty top-notch high school. So academically, my classes haven't been that much more challenging. But study hall each day has really helped with that. Getting my homework done in those two hours is essential.
What are you looking forward to most about starting the season? Traveling with the team and competing for different positions. I feel like every week it's going to be a competition within practice for who will start that week. It's a healthy competition. It gives you less room for error.
And just traveling with the girls and building those relationships with them. And playing, of course!
What's it like being a pitcher who also hits? It's sometimes challenging because if I am trying to warm up [in the bullpen], and then I am on-deck too, I can't. That's kind of frustrating sometimes.
But I love hitting. It is challenging trying to balance the two. There are days where I like pitching more, and days when I like batting more.
What was it like playing in the state tournament at McCombs Field? My freshman year, I played first base. It was intense, but I think as a freshman, I didn't really understand the magnitude of - oh my gosh, we are at state.
Senior year, I was pitching. Then I understood how hard we worked and we appreciated it a lot more. Rachel [Scott] and I got to start our high school career there [at McCombs], finish our high school career there and then start our college career here.
How has it helped to have Rachel Scott here on the team with you? It's awesome. Rachel and I played together on the first softball team I ever played for. I think we were like eight years old. It has been awesome.
We have always gotten along really well. We room together here, too. I think we balance each other out. I always want everything to be perfect. And sometimes, she'll just be that person to say, "Hey, it's ok. You are doing fine. Just because you didn't get that call, you are ok."
I really do enjoy playing with her. She's like my little hometown sister.
Any pregame rituals? Even in practice, unless Coach Clark tells me differently, I do the same pitch order. Not stepping on the chalk likes. I have the same at-bat routine. I guess it kind of keeps me sane. If I don't do the same thing, I feel off a little bit.
Oh, and my hair and my makeup have to be on point. I have to be looking good for the game. So, I guess that's a ritual.