Athlete Of The Week: Kat Conlon ’04

She scores, she passes, and she can rebound. What more could you ask for in a Lady Blue Hoopster? Kat Conlon ’04 can do it all on a basketball court. She has helped the team to a 10-3 record this season, in addition to a 20-2 mark last year. Her sharp shooting, gritty play, and stout defense pushed the team to a second place finish in the 2002 postseason tournament. Last Saturday, Conlon poured in 16 point, in helping the Girls down Exeter. For her skill and leadership, Kat Conlon ’04 has been named the Athlete of the Week. When Conlon entered Andover last year, the PA Girls’ Varsity Basketball team inherited a priceless asset. Conlon, who had played for her former high school’s varsity squad for three years and served as captain, would soon become the linchpin of PA’s offensive assault. Somehow, the girl destined to make a name for herself did not start playing b-ball until she turned eight. Conlon started playing basketball in the second grade. Growing up on Cape Cod, Conlon was an integral part of the intense rivalries that exist between the teams of the Cape. In a small region like Cape Cod, those rivalries were indeed heated. “Huge rivalries between Cape Cod teams were the highlight of my childhood,” Conlon recalled. “My friends and I used to make signs and draw tattoos all over ourselves as our pre-game pump-up.” Playing on local town teams during the winter and All-Star teams in the spring, Conlon logged plenty of hours in front of her own raucous home court fans. The memories of All-Star games stay with Conlon to this day. “The All-Star games are my most favorite basketball memories, hands down.” Basketball prowess runs in Conlon’s family. Bridget, Conlon’s older sister, played with her for two years on her high school team in Bourne. After their time on the court together, she commands a lot of respect from Kat. “There are many famous basketball players that I admire, but I mostly look up to my sister. Although she does not play anymore, she is someone whose game I respect immensely.” Conlon continued, “She has always shown a lot of heart on the court day in and out, and her attitude through her own basketball highs and lows has always inspired me to look to her as a sort of role model.” Conlon has had the good fortunate of having a few very capable coaches to guide her through her basketball career; “I have been blessed with amazing coaches. My dad is responsible for my first shots as a child, rebounding foul shots for me nightly. He coached me until high school in various youth league, and continues to coach for me before and after games.” Conlon also mentioned her coaches, both at Andover and back home in Bourne. “The assistant varsity coach [at Bourne] never failed to keep me grounded and will always be someone with whom I can talk basketball. Coach K [Kennedy] has pushed me in practice both physically and mentally. She is a woman who loves the game as much as the girls on her team.” Kennedy returned Kat the kind words, saying, “She is dedicated and sincere with her intent and purpose. Simply put, Kat works hard, she works smart, and she works fair. “I can’t really speak to any weakness except to say that when Kat identifies a weakness, one that inhibits her quest in terms of her goals, she begins a process in changing that habit from weakness to strength.” Conlon’s basketball future is bright. “I hope to play basketball in college.” However, Conlon knows there is still much work to be done till she is ready to play college ball. “As a player, there is so much that I have yet to accomplish and learn. There are hundreds of different areas for one to improve, which keeps me busy and motivated. Conlon considers herself an all around threat and a well-balanced player, saying, “I do not have a signature move.” She added with a smile, “I do however, love to steal the ball, nothing pumps me up more than aggressive defense.” Perhaps teammate Krystal Freeman ’03 put it best, noting Conlon’s work ethic, dedication and pleasant disposition, saying of Conlon, “Kat is always a dedicated team player, and an intensely hard worker who always brings a smile to games and practices.”