Katie Woodruff from Canada signs with Tabor College | Sport

Katie Woodruff has faced many hardships in her life but she has overcome them to make her dreams come true.

The Canadian senior signed a National Letter of Intent to play college basketball at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas, during a ceremony at his high school Wednesday, and said that actually putting pen to paper was an exhilarating experience.

“I feel nervous and excited at the same time,” Woodruff smiled. “It’s like a rush.”

Woodruff first started playing basketball in sophomore grade, and laughs when he says it was the competitive nature that drew him into the sport. But when he looks back on those years, he admits he went down a rough path – so finally realizing his dream of playing college ball was the culmination of hard work and faith.

“This really is a real roller coaster. It started really well, but then injuries and deaths ran in the family,” he said. “And then it’s just kind of the icing on the cake for the last year — it really brings it all together. Everything is tied together for something good.

Woodruff is said to have battled through not one but two knee injuries in his high school career, as well as the sudden death of his father in 2021.

But a framed photo sat on the table beside him as he signed, and he’s been rehabilitating from his latest knee surgery. Woodruff described the talk he would give himself, especially when the going was tough.

“Really ‘just take it day by day.’ Because it’s a really big roller coaster, and you’re going to ride it,” he said.

Woodruff said Tabor had him on their radar during his junior season, and stayed with him through both injuries. He said it means a lot to him, but still has to have some inner reflection as he wants to continue his basketball career.

“It took a lot of thought. I knew with graduation I had to really move on (rehab) and had to spend a lot of time just with me and myself — and figuring out if this was what I wanted,” he said. “But I don’t want to live with regrets and know that I could have gone and not done it only because of a knee injury.”

Making up his mind, he immediately called his new coach.

“He was like ‘are you ready to sign your letter of intent?’” he recalls. “Immediately, ‘yes!’ Don’t even guess it or anything.

Woodruff said seeing the support from his coaches and loved ones standing around him as he signed was an unforgettable moment.

“My grammy, he was there crying,” he said with a laugh. “But it was great, because they got me through it all.”

Woodruff portrayed the love of his family and girlfriend, and was by his side every step of the way. And said he is immensely grateful to his parents for their unwavering support and giving him the tools to succeed.

“Must be my mother,” he smiled. “My father, he was the one who taught me basketball when I was little. And it was he who taught me all the moves that I know.”

The smile refused to fade from Woodruff’s face as his new coach and family discussed their next steps and what to do for the incoming freshmen. Woodruff said it was like starting all over again, with the future that was his to forge.

But looking one more time at the past, she says there are words of encouragement she has given her younger self — especially when things might have felt rock bottom.

“You’re going to be okay. It sucks now, that’s for sure. But it gets better,” said Woodruff. “There’s a plan for everything. You will get through it, and something good will come out of it.

Hadwin Floyd

"Coffee enthusiast. Hipster-friendly social media fanatic. Certified zombie expert. Problem solver."

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