Friday, March 9, 2012

Martinez commits to Dartmouth

Star point guard chooses Ivy League school, wants to study Neuroscience and Biology

Express Staff Writer

Kaitana Martinez, the star senior point guard for the Wood River High School girls' basketball team, revealed Wednesday that she has verbally committed to attend Ivy League Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. and play basketball for the Big Green starting in the fall of 2012.

She said the school extended to her a "likely letter," stipulating that she will be formally admitted to the four-year private college sometime in the next month. This came after Martinez made a visit to the school last weekend, from March 2-4.

Martinez said Dartmouth's financial aid offer included what she called "a rather large scholarship."

"I'm very excited," said Martinez, a Bellevue resident who turns 18 May 29. "Academically I've tried to put myself in a position for some of the top schools. I loved my visit to the school. Hanover is a town of 8,500 and it reminded me of here, the friendly community atmosphere. And their offer to me incorporates the work I've done academically and what I've done as a basketball player. I also found during my 48-hour visit that the service and spirituality programs were an important part of the school. I'm just so grateful for the opportunity, and for the support I've had here in this wonderful community."

Dartmouth came into Martinez's college picture only in the last three weeks, after a Dartmouth official called her just prior to the Feb. 16-18 State 4A basketball tournament in which Wood River and Martinez were competing.

She recalled, "They said they had one point guard position to fill and they requested some game film, which I sent to them. They called back and said they absolutely loved the way I played the point guard position and created for my team, while scoring points at the same time. They said they wanted me to visit the school, which I did.

"I had various meetings with the athletic director and the coaches and saw two games, Dartmouth beating Cornell and Columbia. I also went to classes with one of the players and met with people from the medical program. I want to be Pre-Med with undergraduate majors in Neuroscience and Biology."

Before she suffered a knee injury last July in summer showcase basketball, Martinez said Dartmouth had been on her list of schools that had invited to watch her play. She said she had personally visited other choices like the University of Chicago, Vassar College, Whitman College and Northwest Nazarene College. Her older brother Juan is a sophomore at Northern Arizona University. Kaitana's parents, Ron and Angie Martinez, are Blaine County School District employees.

Martinez played four years of varsity basketball for Wood River and led the Wolverines to second- and third-place finishes in the State 4A tournament as a junior and senior. She is the second-leading career scorer in school history. This spring, Martinez said she will play softball for the Wolverines.

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