Kroll started her career out at St. Francis, but an ACL tear cut her high school senior season short and forced her to miss her first season. After a long road to recovery, Kroll averaged over 13 points a game and won Northeast Conference Newcomer of the Year, helping lead her team to an NCAA appearance.
After a strong first full collegiate season, Kroll transferred to Ohio, where she had to sit out another season due to the transfer rules at the time. After a long wait to suit up for Ohio, Kroll appeared in 30 games that season, starting seven. She averaged 23 minutes per game and 4.4 points in a season where she was finding her role. She felt at home the next season and started all 23 games she appeared in for Ohio. She was named to the Academic All-MAC team, an award she still values strongly today.
Unfortunately for Kroll, her bad luck continued; an unexpected hip injury that required surgery led her to miss all of last season. She returned to the floor for the Bobcats this season. Embracing her new role fully, she has been a coach's dream on and off the floor. A tough season with a young roster can be detrimental for a program, but Kroll has made it her goal to motivate the team.
"I knew I had to step up my role this year , especially losing some key pieces early on," Kroll said. "I know that these younger girls look up to me and I've been around the program for a while. I know the ins and outs and I think they can see how hard I play every time I step out on the court. Going through so many injuries, this stuff can be taken from you in a second."
Ryan Grzybowski | For The Post
Ohio guard Caitlyn Kroll (5) passes the ball past Ohio State defense, Bobcats lose 56-86 in the Convocation Center on Nov. 17, 2022.
Kroll spoke honestly in an interview about returning from injuries. She has now had three season-ending injuries, including one this year, which is not only a difficult physical challenge but a mental challenge as well.
"I have no idea," Kroll said, laughing about how she managed a positive attitude through her bad luck. "Every time I got hurt, I just feel like I use that as fuel. Like I'm going to come back from every single injury better than I was before. I might not be the same player I was before, but I think I contribute to the game in a variety of ways."
Though Kroll is out for the rest of the season, she still cares about the program and her friends out on the floor. Her face lit up when talking about helping her teammates grow.
"He (Boldon) was like even when you are not here, you make such an impact. I didn't realize how much of an impact I had," Kroll said when discussing her conversations with head coach Bob Boldon. "I know what this team needs and ever since we had that talk, I just try to know how much I can impact these younger girls."
Even after she suffered a season-ending injury in last week's loss to Ball State, Kroll emphasized that she will be traveling with the team and attending practices to soak up her last couple weeks as a member of this program.
Kroll also emphasized how excited she is for the future of the program. After sophomore Yaya Felder and freshman Jaya McClure combined for over 50 points in last Saturday's victory, Kroll didn't have enough positives to bring up about the underclassman on this roster.
"I am excited for this team. I really am," Kroll said. "He's bringing in a handful of great players to add to an already dynamic squad. Yaya and Jaya, they are going to be special. They're young and to see them playing at that high of a level at such a young age, they're only going to keep getting better. I wish I could be around but I will definitely will be supporting from a distance."
After having this conversation with Kroll, it was easy to tell she is proud of her accomplishments, both on and off the floor. She has been through more than any college athlete should have to deal with. She has shown toughness and grit through a tumultuous career for Ohio.
Although they won't have her services on the floor for the rest of the season, the Bobcats will have her leadership right by their side. Kroll will always have a lasting impression on this Bobcat program; she's a coach and teammate's dream.