By Sue Moore
Alma College sports program is getting a double barrel package with the signing of Vicksburg’s Josh and Olivia Holmes. Although two years apart at Vicksburg High School, they signed their letters of intent to play for Alma simultaneously. They are the offspring of Rick and Jennie Holmes, two very good athletes for Vicksburg when they played sports in the 1980s.
Olivia will play softball after graduating early from Kalamazoo Valley Community College this fall. She will begin classes this January and start practicing with the team right away, according to Alma’s softball coach, Denny Griffith. “This is the first time that I know of when we have signed two athletes from the same family at the same time to come to Alma to play two different sports.”
Josh on the other hand will play lacrosse for Vicksburg High School this spring and join the Alma Scots in the fall of 2018 as a freshman. He is on the wrestling squad for Vicksburg and played as a down lineman for the Bulldogs all four years of eligibility. He will have earned eight varsity letters upon his graduation in June, tied with his dad who also had eight in 1983. He plans to major in computer engineering or science at Alma.
“Big things come in little packages,” Coach Griffith said about Olivia’s softball play. “She is fast, has a great work ethic, highly competitive, great speed, good strong arm and she can cross home plate. I got to see her play before, knowing she was going to KVCC. Now she will be able to compete immediately for us.” Olivia has lettered in basketball and softball, earning six varsity letters. She plans to major in math, physical education and secondary education. Olivia carries a 4.0 GPA while helping to coach the Vicksburg girls basketball team in the 2016-17 season.
Josh’s high school lacrosse coach said that Holmes as a long stick mid-fielder, although small, was very strong, fast, and could stay with the big ones because of his speed and technique. “He is a fundamentally sound defenseman, hard to beat in a one-on-one situation. Our team was stacked with players who could go on to a higher level of play in college,” Coach Eric Frank said. “Holmes is a great student athlete and I’m happy to know he will be playing in Division III next year.”
Alma’s teams play in the MIAA. The lacrosse team went 12-6 last year and played in the tournament championship game for the second straight year, losing to Albion in 2017.
Josh and Olivia’s grandmother, Evelyn Brockway, has been a big fundraiser for the Vicksburg Boosters Club, having spearheaded the bingo program for over 44 years, raising over $1 million for the fund. She recruits all the members of her extended family to help out at the Kalamazoo Bank Street location.
“Our biggest adjustment of going to Alma will be changing from wearing red and white to the plaid of the Scots teams,” the Jennie joked as Josh and Olivia signed their letters of intent.