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Love and basketball in the 915

Joel Molina
Guard Soleil Montrose dribbles the ball during a game against Western New Mexico.

As the middle of February approaches, college basketball season rages on across the country including here on campus at UTEP. Love is fluttering around as well for Valentine’s Day, and many might know the feeling all too well. Someone feeling the love is UTEP freshman guard, Soleil Montrose.   

Montrose, originally from Irvine, California, is studying biological science with a concentration in biomedical science and is an important figure to the UTEP women’s basketball program.   

Basketball is no stranger to the Montrose family as her brother and father have been playing the sport for a while. So much so, that Montrose’s father was an official player for the Central Connecticut State University Blue Devils during his time in college.   

“I always just saw my brother playing and he kind of inspired me to play,” Montrose said. “Same thing with my dad, he played in college, so I was always kind of around it.”  

Being the main introduction and inspiration for Montrose, it was just the beginning of the spark for her love of the game.  

“Watching his games, I was on the sides dribbling the ball and that kind of made me fall in love with (basketball),” Montrose said.  

Although Montrose dabbled in other sports like soccer in her youth and track and field during her high school career, she always seemed to be attracted to the sport of basketball. Witnessing her family’s passion was the moment in which she knew it could possibly be the sport she was waiting for and was waiting for her.   

“Just seeing the love that both my dad and brother had for (basketball) made me love it too,” Montrose said.   

Montrose currently plays guard, specifically a small power forward. However, you will mostly find Montrose everywhere and anywhere on the court when her coaches ask her to be.   

In her shift from high school to college basketball, Montrose has had to adjust to a much faster pace as well as an entirely new and different atmosphere.   

“Definitely coming into UTEP, I have had to get used to it, but I do like it,” Montrose said. “It’s been better.  In the beginning it was a little bit hard coming straight out of high school because things are slower there, and everyone is good, so you kind of have to pick up (the pace) and learn a little bit faster (here at UTEP).”  

However, the change of pace and difficulty has not stopped Montrose’s motivation or joy in playing at a college level or in general.   

“I mean, I love it,” Montrose said. “Every game is competitive, every game we fight and it just makes us better.”   

Due to her past training in California, Montrose credits her middle school coach Nigel, as well as a key high school coach for their level and expertise. She also says they helped her increase her knowledge of the sport.  

“Nigel, was tough on me man, and same thing with my high school coach,” Montrose said. “They got better players and you know, they were a little crazy, but it made me better.”  

Montrose also adds getting used to having a social, work and school life and finding balance of it all as an adjustment, but she is not alone in this as she is also joined with her team members on this fun journey.   

“This year we had a lot of newcomers, including myself, but I think everyone gets along so well together,” Montrose said. “We all fight, we all want the same goal, we are all determined, everyone’s talented and works hard.”  

Being able to work with others and especially her team members is another reason why Montrose will forever have a love for basketball, especially in the Sun City. 

H. Catching Marginot is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
H. Catching Marginot, Staff Reporter
Henry Catching Marginot is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in multimedia journalism and minoring in English: rhetorical studies. He is a staff reporter at The Prospector and freelances. He plans to pursue writing in the future.
Joel Molina, Photographer
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is a staff photographer who began his career at The Prospector in 2022. He hopes to continue providing the world and its people with different forms of storytelling that will hopefully make their day to day lives better.
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Love and basketball in the 915