Published February 22, 2024

Ohio’s big sister

Kate Dennis leads younger teammates off the court

By Logan Adams | For The Post

Kate Dennis and her sister, Sara, couldn’t be any different in terms of how they’ve decided to spend their collegiate careers. While Dennis is working on her game in The Convo, her sister is 395 miles away studying to be a neurosurgeon at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Despite their very different fields of choice, comparing challenges and celebrating high points with her sister has helped Dennis develop into a leader in Ohio’s young locker room.

“We both have our challenges and different ways of motivating each other,” Dennis said. “If (I) don’t have the greatest performance or if (she does not) do the best on a test just being able to put it in perspective for each other and be there for each other (is important) because we’re both extremely close.”

Dennis’ ability to adapt to the needs of different personalities on the team has helped her to maintain a leadership role in a locker room that is constantly changing. She is a rare four-season player on the roster. This season, Ohio boasts seven new players: five freshmen and two transfers, replacing the seven faces that departed after last season.

“Learning how to motivate different people based on what they’re motivated by or what they’re passionate about, that’s something I’ve been able to learn from (my sister),” Dennis said.

Being a leader and taking on this “big sister” role for the Bobcats has not been something that Dennis is taking on because she has to – it is something she has grown to love. Learning the intricacies of each person in the locker room allows her to take care of her younger teammates or those simply getting acclimated to their new team.

“I think it’s fun to see that not everybody is the same,” Dennis said. “That’s been something that’s helped me in a leadership role, and I love being a big sister.”

The big sister role has almost come to Dennis by default, but it is one she has seemingly been made for. The abundant youth on the team come from all over and have played many different styles of basketball before converging at The Convo.

Because of this, the adjustments the freshmen have had to make are beyond the adjustments every new college student has to make when just learning to be far away from home. They have to learn to play within Ohio Coach Bob Boldon’s system, and helping them get comfortable and remain calm is a role that Dennis has filled naturally.

“I like to think that I bring a calming, positive sense to my teammates,” Dennis said. “With that experience that I have, I think that it helps everybody think to take a deep breath … Having such a young team, that’s so important because things can be so overwhelming.”

This calming presence could be part of why Dennis said this is the team that she feels the most connected to out of her four seasons with Ohio.

Ohio still sits just outside the Mid-American Conference tournament. While the team sits just 7-16 on the season, their goals of making it past the regular season may still come to fruition.

Keeping her own eyes, as well as her teammates’ eyes on the bright spots of the season has been a challenge but a successful one thus far. What the Bobcats have been able to foster in aiding this, though, is rather simple: trust.

“It’s such a new team; trust is so huge because everything is so new,” Dennis said. “I think that building that trust has been something that we've been able to lean into and that I hope we continue to keep leaning into.”

AUTHOR: Logan Adams

EDITOR: Robert Keegan III

COPY EDITOR: Addie Hedges