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Posted by Bill Burkhard on January 26, 2017
Welcome to the inaugural student athlete profile sponsored by Victory Promotions. It is our intention to honor a local high school student for their accomplishments, on and off the athletic field or court.
I could not be more pleased than to introduce you to our first honoree, Katy Nortz. She is a 17 year old, senior from General Brown High School. Katy is the daughter of Tricia and Brian Nortz. She has one brother, Nick, who is in his first year at Jefferson Community College.
When I began my interview with Katy, I was immediately impressed with the confidence she displays in herself and the loyalty she has for her family, friends, and teammates. Added to all the other impressive components of this young women’s personality is resilience. I suspect that the foundation for Katy’s ability to always bounce back was developed at a much younger age than most girls. She was diagnosed with Wilms tumor at three years old. The tumor, on her kidney, was, according to her dad “nearly the size of a football.“ Following chemo therapy and radiation, successful surgery was performed resulting in the removal of that kidney and her appendix. It is quite clear that while she respects the seriousness of that condition, she has not allowed cancer to slow her down at all. It would be understandable if she had chosen to be careful, not involve herself in sports, and lead a more sedentary lifestyle. You would think that the various traumas she had to deal with as a result of the cancer would be enough. Nope, not even close. She has had a broken wrist, broken toe, broken elbow and just last week spent several days in ICU with a large blood clot from her hip to her knee (she has since been cleared to return to basketball). Trust me, slowing down is not Katy at all, or the Nortz family style. Katy gives a lot of credit to her parents for helping shape her personality. Katy says her parents “have definitely pushed me to be my best and they keep me motivated.” Tricia does not hesitate to describe her daughter as a “great kid, well-liked by her peers and the past few years she has taken on a leadership role, captain of the soccer and basketball teams.” Dad says “she is a great student” and he also gives credit to the many coaches she has had through the areas very impressive youth sports program to help make her a very determined young woman.
Basketball was Katy’s first organized sport, and why not. Her father just retired after a 20 plus year career as varsity basketball coach at General Brown. She also played lacrosse when she was younger. She would eventually give up lacrosse stating "I didn't love it." She has learned to love basketball and the various challenges it presents her. She is currently the point guard on women's varsity team. They are enjoying a very successful season. She enjoys her role as "passer" and accepts readily that she is not expected to score a lot. “I enjoy pushing the ball up the floor, as a lot of our offense is fast break.” She found that she also enjoyed soccer and has become a “sweeper.” According to Katy and her parents the soccer program has begun to show some promise. After years of losing seasons, they are beginning to win games and Brian and Tricia feel that Katy is one part of the resurgence of the team. She includes a victory over South Jefferson girls basketball last year and a victory over Copenhagen girls soccer team, also last year, as her athletic highlights.
At school Katy is involved in International Club, the senior class lock-in, Key Club and she is an honor student and member of the National Honor Society. Away from school she is very active in Make a Wish Foundation and has participated as a recipient from Make a Wish and acts as a spokeswoman for them as well. Dad says that “we try to do anything we can for them (Make a Wish).” She walks each year in the Relay for Life survivors’ lap and involves herself in the schools various teams for this yearly event. Her college plans are not yet finalized. She is currently considering SUNY Albany and Plattsburgh, Lemoyne College and Jefferson Community College. According to Katy and her parents she will most likely work toward a degree in "helping people." That may include nursing, counseling, or a related field. If she attends JCC, she will play basketball. If she chooses another school, she suspects that she will not.
Her mom states that she is “always positive” and dad says she has always wanted to “help people be better.” It is hardly necessary to list her flaws. Not because they don't exist, but more because she does not dwell on them. She finds that addressing negative issues in her life and making necessary changes helps he get through the “bad times.” She says she “likes having a brother” and that “I love him to death.” Nick has been an inspiration to her and although they have normal sibling conflicts in the end they are very good friends. The support she receives from her family, coaches, and friends and her ability to think things through has served her well in her life. While her coaches and parents are admittedly her role models, she likes taking all the things they suggest to her and make her own decisions.
Katy has experienced victories in so many areas in her young life. Whether it is “sweeping” in soccer, delivering the basketball where it needs to be, involving herself in so many activities, being a great sister, friend and daughter, or being a cancer survivor, Katy displays the same amazing motivation for each of her roles.
Our interview made me realize that every once in a while you meet someone who makes you smile and think "she is going to be OK." Katy Nortz made me feel that way. Good luck Katy, you are an amazing young woman.