Canadian's Katie Woodruff signs with Tabor College
May 4—Katie Woodruff has met a lot of adversity in her life, but she's overcome it to make her dreams come true.
The Canadian senior signed her National Letter of Intent to play college basketball at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas, during a ceremony at her 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 the game of basketball in second grade, and laughed as she said it was the competitive nature that drew her into the sport. But as she looked back on the years, she admitted that she traveled down an arduous road — so finally making her dream of playing college ball come true was the culmination of hard work and faith.
"It's definitely been a real roller coaster. It started off really good, but then injuries and deaths in the family happened," she said. "And then this just kind of icing on the cake for the last year — it really brought it all together. It all tied in together for something good."
Woodruff referred to battling through not one but two knee injuries in her high school career, as well as the sudden death of her father in 2021.
But a framed photo of his sat on the table beside her as she signed, and she has rehabbed from her latest knee surgery. Woodruff described the talks she would give herself, especially when things were hard.
"Really 'just take it one day at a time.' Because it really is a big roller coaster, and that you'll get through it," she said.
Woodruff said Tabor had her on their radar during her junior season, and stuck along with her through both of her injuries. She said that meant a lot to her, but still had to have some inward reflection as she looked to continue her basketball career.
"It took a lot of thinking. I knew with graduation, I had to really get on (rehab) and had to take a lot of time with just me and myself — and figure out if this is what I wanted," she said. "But I don't want to live with regret and knowing that I could have went and didn't do it just because of some knee injury."
With her mind made up, she quickly made the call to her new coach.
"He was like 'are you ready to sign your letter of intent?'" she recalled. "Immediately, 'yes!' Didn't even second guess it or anything."
Woodruff said seeing the support from her coaches and loved ones standing around her as she signed was a memorable moment.
"My grammy, she was over there crying," she said with a laugh. "But it was awesome, because they got me through all of it."
Woodruff described the love from her family and boyfriend, and being by her side every step of the way. And said she was especially thankful for her parents for their unwavering support and giving her the tools to succeed.
"Definitely my mom," she smiled. "My dad, he was the one that taught me basketball when I was little. And he was the one that taught me all my moves that I know."
The smile refused to fade from Woodruff's face as her new coach and her family discussed the next steps and what will be in store for the incoming freshman. Woodruff said it was like starting all over again, with a future that is hers to forge.
But taking one final look into the past, she said there were words of encouragement she'd give her younger self — especially when things may feel at their lowest.
"You'll be okay. It sucks right now, it definitely does. But it gets better," Woodruff said. "There's a plan for everything. You're going to get through it, and something good is going to come out of it."