The Grubbs Gallery was a loud and happy place on November 12, as the entire Williston Northampton girls varsity basketball team turned out to see their teammate sign a National Letter of Intent to play with Saint Leo University of Florida.
Coach and teammates alike described Maranie “Mar” Harris-Kuiper ‘15 in glowing terms: warm, hardworking, gifted, strong, kind, and generous.
“Mar has been such a role model to me,” said teammate Sarah Marion ’17. “She always has my back—emotionally, physically, academically. I’m so proud of her.”
“She’s a kind and generous teammate who always wants the best for herself and those around her,” agreed Jen Fulcher, head coach of the girls basketball team. “She always believes we can, and that’s infectious.”
Ms. Harris-Kuiper described the Williston community as a supportive family, while her parents, Stephanie Harris-Kuiper and Mark Kuiper, added that her time at Williston had been a time of incredible opportunity. Ms. Harris-Kuiper transformed, they said, from a modern dancer to a force on the basketball court. By her sophomore year, she had been named NEPSAC All-New England.
Mrs. Harris-Kuiper described watching a game in which her daughter was matched against a much a larger New York opponent, but “busted out like a bull.”
“Mar had strength and tenacity and that got them the game,” Mrs. Harris-Kuiper said. “I said, ‘Oh my god, she really has potential.’”
The Williston senior was recruited by roughly a dozen schools, but found the perfect fit at Saint Leo, with its diverse campus and strong basketball team. Ms. Harris-Kuiper will also be joining an honors college at the university.
“When I went to Saint Leo, everything about it was literally perfect,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for a better school.”
Last year, Saint Leo women’s basketball team broke school records for wins in a single season, and for conference wins in a single season. The team capped off these achievements by advancing to their first-ever NCAA South Region tournament appearance. The Lions finished with a 20-10 overall record, which the university noted was the highest win percentage for the program.