CONKLIN, N.Y. - From China to Conklin, New York, Holly Manchester's story is one that proves destiny is real.
Here's her story, as she's my Athlete of the Week.
"I was adopted when I was four, and the first picture my parents ever saw of me, I was holding a basketball. So, I guess, I don't know if that was foreshadowing that I was going to play basketball in the future," said Sabers Senior Guard Holly Manchester.
It's certainly been a long and unique journey in the life of Susquehanna Valley senior Holly Manchester. Coming from the other side of the world, Holly described what things were like for her while living in China.
"It's really different actually. There's so many of us there. I had this caretaker family. So, maybe every other weekend, I'd get to go home with them and kind of be a part of a family."
Then, her moment of destiny arrived, thanks to her parents, Brad and Cindy.
"So, what happened is my parents actually kind of found me on an adoption website, and they found me at the exact same time. They were calling each other saying 'This is our girl. I found her.' They were calling about the exact same person."
Everything that her parents have done and taught her has been noticed by her coach, Chad Freije.
That goes for Holly's life both on and off the court.
"She's always been a real confident kid. Her parents did a really good job of raising her and instilling values in her. She works really hard, being five foot...ish. She's had a lot to overcome with size and basketball. But, her skills are at such a high level that makes up for any kind of height issues she might have," said Freije.
Despite her size, Holly has made up for it with the skills Freije talked about.
She's been with the varsity team since her 8th grade year, and has the Sabers two wins away from their first state championship since her freshman year.
"Playing on the big stage a few times, kind of helps me be able to calm my nerves and focus on the task at hand and focus on the win. Then, afterwards, you can go celebrate and do all the fun stuff. But, having that experience makes me want to do it again."
A big part of the experience is being able to celebrate victories with family, friends, and fans.
Holly is grateful for the support she's received from all the above over the years.
"We've had nothing but support the entire way. Even freshman year until now. Even when we didn't exactly win states the past couple years. They've stood by our sides the entire way and we couldn't be more thankful to have them."
With the support of everyone on their side, Holly believes that S.V. can continue to climb as long as they stick together.
"Win as a team, lose as a team, regardless of the outcome. I think that's just still standing now today. I think if we just keep doing what we're doing, play really hard, play together. I think we can have an even more successful season than we already have."
Holly and the Sabers will look to continue to build that successful season on Friday against Midlakes.