Liberty Ranch’s Klotz plots a course for Hawaii

Liberty Ranch athlete Olivia Klotz recently signed to the University of Hawaii's sailing team.

GALT — Olivia Klotz was one of three captains on the Liberty Ranch High girls basketball team last winter.

Now she’ll be competing in another sport in college after she graduates from high school next month.

On April 26 inside Liberty Ranch’s library, in front of family, friends, former basketball teammates, teachers and school administrators, Klotz, who has been sailing for the last 12 years, signed her National Letter of Intent with the University of Hawaii, which is an NCAA Division I campus. University of Hawaii is part of the Big West Conference in most sports.

“It was amazing how many people were out supporting me; even since I was little,” said Klotz, 18, of the signing. “Just to know that I have their support was amazing. They are really like family, all of the people that showed up.”

Sailing involves a variety of competitive sailing formats. There are races between fleets of sailing crafts or teams. The sport is sanctioned through sailing federations and yacht clubs.

There are four-year colleges on the West Coast that offer sailing. Klotz liked what Hawaii has to offer.

“A lot of schools like UC Santa Barbara and Stanford have varsity sailing, as well as Hawaii,” Klotz said. “But a lot of them are just club teams and not as competitive as varsity program (at Hawaii).”

Klotz said that she looked at nearly four, four-year colleges that are strong in academics and her major – sports medicine – mainly and had strong sailing programs, second.

“They have the courses that I want to take,” said Klotz, who has a 3.1 grade point average. “It just seems like a perfect fit.”

Knowing people who are part of the Warriors’ program was another reason to sign with the college, Klotz noted.

“A few of them I’ve sailing with them for years, some since I’ve started,” Klotz said. “They said, ‘come on over.’ I’m already going to have a family over there already. I won’t be alone.”

Klotz’s visit to the campus in Hawaii, which is three hours behind the time zone in California, was “amazing.”

“Hawaii is warm,” said Klotz of the state’s year-round weather. “I met the entire team. I sailed with them in practice. The campus is amazing.”

Klotz is a part of the Richmond Yacht Club, the junior program. The season ended in March, and started last October. The club sailed almost every weekend for the last six months in San Francisco; a combination of practices and contests that all took place on weekends.

“I would do that for eight years, practically every weekend,” Klotz said.

She continues to practice on weekends and compete in regattas.

“Just to get some more practices,” Klotz said.

Klotz learned about the sport of sailing through her father, Stephen.

“He got us into sailing when we were very little,” said Oliva Klotz, who is referring to her brother Andrew. “We just kept going because we were making a lot of friendships at yacht clubs and where we were sailing.”

Last winter, Klotz shared captain duties with Liberty Ranch girls basketball teammates Olivia Nelson and Giovanna Parino. Klotz started at forward and played center.

“I’ve known those girls for years; we use to play in middle school together,” said Klotz of her fellow captains and most of her teammates. “Playing in high school has been so much fun.”

The Hawks finished with a 4-6 record in the Sierra Valley Conference and 12-15 overall. Liberty Ranch earned a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff berth that was short-lived; section champion West Campus of Sacramento eliminated the Hawks 60-24 in the first round.

Klotz scored an average of 4.1 points per game and an even four rebounds per game. She had 25 steals, 15 assists and 13 blocked shots.

Contact Mike Bush at mikeb@lodinews.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.

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