Vanessa Holland: a point guard and leader for the Wildcats


Ryan McCasland/Chico State Sports Information

#24 Vanessa Holland dribbles a ball in a basketball game at Chico State (Ryan McCasland/Chico State Sports Information)

Vanessa Holland is a senior at Chico State and is one of the leaders on the basketball team. She was born in Eureka, but grew up in Humboldt County where she developed a passion for basketball from her parents.

“I think I was five when I started playing,” Holland said. “My mom played and my dad played, and so I just kind of grew up around it.”

Holland is working hard at Chico State, hoping to work in the medical field one day.

“I’m a public health major,” Holland said. “I’m planning on going to nursing school after I graduate this year. Nursing school is my next move.”

Brian Fogel, the head coach of the women’s basketball team at Chico State, has been an inspiration to Holland throughout her years of playing the sport for the school.

Holland is grateful for the lessons and guidance she’s received from Fogel as her head coach.

“One thing that I love so much about coach [Fogel] is that he is such a big life lesson guy and it’s really because I feel like I’ve learned so much off the court from him,” Holland said. “A lot of people aren’t lucky enough to have a coach where they feel like they learn from them just about life.”

When Holland isn’t playing basketball, she still finds ways to stay active so that she is ready to play when in-person sports activities resume. 

“I’ve always really enjoyed running outside,” Holland said. “I grew up doing that with my mom. I’ve been lucky enough to be in a place where I can go run outside and I try and do that five times a week.”

Holland’s teammates have expressed what a good teammate she is.

“I would say she’s very reliable,” said junior guard Myli Martinez. “She’s very helpful and she just knows Chico State basketball really well. She’s one of those players that just lays a foundation for everybody else and everybody else just has to match her or meet her expectations along with Coach’s expectations.”

As a senior close to graduation, Holland’s Chico State sports career is drawing to a close. Martinez went on to talk about what she’ll miss most about Holland.

“I’ll miss her presence,” Martinez said. “Honestly, it’s not going to feel the same. I came in and she was already here. It’s going to be really weird not having her here.”

It’s been almost a full year since the women’s basketball team played a game. Their most recent game was a playoff match on March 3, 2020 and it came against the Cal State East Bay Pioneers in which the Wildcats lost by a final of 53-78.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still lingering, sports have yet to receive the go ahead for in-person activities.

Caylee Hermanson, a sophomore and current teammate of Holland’s expressed how eager she is to get back onto the court and play the game with Holland and her other teammates after such a long layoff.

“Excited is an absolute understatement,” Hermanson said. “Last year I was really excited to play with this team this year. I’m just itching to get back on that court.”

Alex Martin can be reached at [email protected] or @alexmartinjour on Twitter.