Published DateLACONIA — Most teams have at least one player that hold a special rank on the team. Typically, they're one of the team captains and have a regard among their team mates that is beyond a title. Kerri Howe, coach of the Laconia High School girls' varsity lacrosse team, said she is enjoying this season the services of a particular veteran athlete, senior captain Victoria "Tori" Holmes, who has played four varsity sports this year and is a rare kind of leader among her peers.
"It was my senior year and I wanted to go out with a bang," said Holmes, who was a member of the school's winter cheer team and in the fall was on both the cheer and soccer teams. She played three sports during her junior year. As a freshman and a sophomore, she only played two sports, but that was because she was also helping to coach cheer at the middle school and for an all-star cheer team.
Holmes, who said she loves to be busy, plans to continue her athletic career beyond her high school years. She'll be attending Plymouth State University next fall and has been invited to attend the soccer team's preseason practices, beginning in mid-August. She also plans to try out for the university's lacrosse team. Her extracurricular activities shouldn't detract from her academic pursuits – at LHS, she managed to maintain a 3.7 grade point average while playing 11 sports seasons and coaching while an underclassman.
After graduating from PSU, she'd like to be a high school math teacher, a desire Holmes traced back to her freshman year when she became enamored of the subject while in teacher Matt Dubois's class. She's looked forward to every math class since then, she said. A career in high school teaching seems like a great fit for her. "It's a perfect job. I like kids, and I want to coach."
Athletics are far more than just a past-time for Holmes. She has enjoyed the many friendships she's made, and feels that competition reveals a part of a person that's often invisible in everyday life. "People are really different on and off the field," she said, adding that the rule applies to herself as well. "I'm really nice off the field but I've heard a lot of stories that when I'm on the field, people are scared of me."
"I love working out," she said, explaining that exercise became therapeutic for her when grieving her father, who died four years ago.
"It really helped me, because my dad passed away my freshman year. Whenever I thought of him, I went for a run and it cleared my mind," she said. She remembers her father as someone who would provide encouragement and criticism in equal measure, whether he was talking with Holmes or with one of her three older brothers. "I loved that because it makes us better. He was always looking for us to do more."
Howe has known Holmes since she was a middle school athlete. Holmes, she said, isn't the kind of athlete that comes around every year. "I've had the pleasure of coaching Tori for many years. She's a natural leader, she challenges herself. She strives to make herself better and maker her team better... She's the kind of kid that's the reason I coach."