A Champion Mindset

July 27, 2017

DENTON -- Before a North Texas women's basketball practice one summer afternoon, freshman Lauren Holmes lies on the court with a pad of post-it notes and a pen.

One-by-one, Holmes wrote on each post-it a personalized note of encouragement to each one of her teammates, which she left at their lockers inside the Ernie Kuehne Basketball Practice Facility.

"I'd do anything for her," said sophomore Hannah Hopkins of Holmes to head coach Jalie Mitchell. "She's got it."

Being on campus for less than a month, Holmes has already shown the characteristics that led her to win nine high school state championships in three different sports. Furthermore, she was named 2017 Arkansas Female Athlete of the Year while having a 3.9 cumulative grade point average and two jobs.

"Hard work can get you anywhere," Holmes said. "As long as you work hard and have perseverance you're going to do good."

Despite all the accolades and honors Holmes racked up at Fayetteville High School, she's still shy and humble. Holmes will be the first to tell you she doesn't believe she should have been named the state's player of the year and that her teammates deserve a lot of the credit. But there's no denying the success that's followed her.

Even the things she's least enjoyed she's been a champion at.

Holmes was a two-time team state champion in track and field and won individual titles in the 100-meter hurdles, triple jump, long jump and 4x100 relay. Yet, she couldn't wait for it to be over.

"I hated track," Holmes said with a look of disgust. "My mom pushed me to do it and I think I stuck with it because she and I knew applying myself at a variety of things would make me more well-rounded."



In her senior year, Holmes decided to pick up volleyball at a friend's suggestion. Sure enough, her team finished 30-6, won the state championship and finished ranked in the top-70 in the nation.

Though she fell in love with volleyball, basketball is still her favorite sport, but not her best by trade.

"Basketball isn't naturally my best sport," Holmes said. "But I've worked so hard and my teams have always worked so hard that I've learned no matter what you think, if you give it your all you're going to be great."

On top of succeeding in athletics, Holmes earned an academic scholarship to college. She says school has always been important to her, because she sees it as a job and one that will help her in other areas of life, both in college while she plays basketball and whenever the ball stops bouncing.

She doesn't currently have a job, but in high school she worked two at the same time -- at an arcade and as a secretary. It was important to her as it gave her experiences most high school kids don't have and she believes it has better prepared her to be a collegiate student-athlete.

"Being a student-athlete is a full-time job," Holmes said. "If I do something I'm going to do it with a champion mindset. I don't understand why I wouldn't want to give my all and try to be the best."

North Texas Mean Green