By Scott Richards
Athletics and scholarship are preached by coaches and teachers alike, but seldom are they fostered as in the family of India Holmes, a Caroline High School graduating senior and the Caroline Progress Female Student Athlete of the spring semester.
The entire family, starting with her father who lettered in three sports in high school, to the youngest, Myles, who plays baseball on an 8U travel team, is all one big sports machine. Speaking of athletes, it should be noted that Holmes’ grandmother is still actively playing softball. It must be in their blood.
Playing middle infield, Holmes stated she loves softball because it’s such a fast-paced, busy game.
When she was 5, she began and has played various positions including second base, outfield, and pitching. Playing on State Travel Teams took her all over the state with supportive parents in tow.
Not only did they attend games, but her parents instilled in all of their children a work ethic that has been a major reason for excelling in sports, providing a weight machine in the garage so there will be no excuse not to work out. This has been obvious in Holmes’ career in softball, where she has been noted for her ability to hit.
Concerning both her offensive as well as defensive abilities for softball, Holmes stated, “Batting is hard work. You have to work at it year-round along with regular workouts to improve and stay in shape.”
Holmes said that studies come first with all her siblings, as her parents have pushed education, having everyone studying together and helping one another. This family dynamic has taught her a lot of responsibility and leadership, as she has had to assist her two younger brothers in their schoolwork.
The family dynamic of academics and athletics have caused these two areas to become mixed in all their lives. With a 3.7 GPA, Holmes has a math and science background, with a full high school schedule that included calculus, chemistry, and anatomy. She will be attending Virginia State College, where she will have the opportunity to play college softball with her sister, who will be a senior there this fall.
At the mention of playing ball with her sister, a big smile came on her face and she remarked, ”I look forward to playing softball with her. We played together in high school but have not been able to since then.”
Holmes stated she first wants to study elementary education, followed by pursuing a master’s degree and then working with small children. She would also like to coach softball with her sister.
As if her life is not full enough, Holmes is extremely active in her church, singing in the choir, helping to usher and teaching Sunday School.
A very even-tempered person, she exudes compassion toward others, a trait that sets her apart from her peers.
When asked about her compassion, she said, ”It comes from my family—full of love and caring.”
For all that lies ahead, she said, ”Life has prepared me.”
Freddie Romero-Baker is a young man who likes to go higher and higher. This past spring in the state track meet, Freddy went 13’6” to place fourth in the state in the pole vault.
Athletics is not the only area in which Baker excels. A student at the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School for Marine and Environmental Science in Bowling Green, he recently graduated with a GPA of approximately 4.1.
In light of his accomplishments both athletically and scholastically, the Caroline Progress has chosen Freddie Romero-Baker as the Male Student Athlete for the spring semester.
Competition is nothing new to Baker. He stated that he has always been a leader in family and sports, as well as academics.
Entering into the Governor’s School as a sophomore and continuing through graduation, Baker related that admission into the school is extremely competitive because of the level of instruction, which presents courses on a level providing for dual enrollment in high school and college. Also, Baker is enrolled in an Advanced Placement Government class at Caroline High School.
Baker is one of those young people who sets goals and attains them. After a slow start in the ninth grade as a pole-vaulter, he began taking lessons his sophomore year and continued to progress into this year’s top conference and regional pole-vaulter.
Wrist surgery sidelined Baker for a while last season, but he came roaring back, continuing to receive lessons and coaching to become a premier athlete in the state.
Prior to the state track meet this year, he stated he was going to be one of the top five in the state of Virginia in the pole vault, and he attained it. In the indoor season, Baker was number three in the state, vaulting to a height of 13’3”.
Baker humbly played down his accomplishment saying, “It’s not like being outside; there is no weather when you are indoors.”
When asked what motivated him, he said he likes to do things to be happy. In addition to sports and academics, Baker is making a name for himself as a musician. Teaming up with Hannah Womack, they play alternative acoustic rock and are regulars at the Bowling Bean in Bowling Green.
He stated that although they have been playing together for some time, last year they became serious about their music and have been writing some of their own.
Young Life at Caroline High School has been another instrument that has brought Baker in to a leadership role. As an active member of an inner group of students known as Campaigners, he stated that this has changed his life and is something he will be able to carry away with him into college, where he hopes to continue working with high school students.
Baker will be attending Christopher Newport University next year and will be taking the first step in a career in physical therapy. Like many athletes of his caliber, he hopes to continue working in sports, using physical therapy in sports-related injuries.
With a younger brother at home, the family dynamic has been very important and has forced him to learn leadership. Rene, a rising sophomore at Caroline High School, is an active member of the school community. Baker stated they are as close as they can get.
Freddie Romero-Baker is one who has risen above challenges to meet goals he has set for himself, and he will no doubt continue to vault to new heights.