The lucky folks who got to watch Londonderry High School senior basketball player Kate Balcom play during her four years at the school will tell you that she always gave her all, that she was completely dedicated to the team concept, and that her teammates and opponents alike held her in high esteem.
Well, folks close to the Lady Lancer standout – who was recently named a Division I Second-Team All-State selection – also know that Balcom excels in other segments of her life. And the Londonderry cager’s basketball abilities, academic talents, and her willingness to give to others has earned her the prestigious Division I Girls’ Jack Ford Basketball Award for the 2015-16 season.
LHS varsity girls’ basketball coach Nick Theos was effusive in recommending his veteran guard/forward Balcom for this year’s D-I girls’ Ford award – which is named for New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Association founder and former longtime Winnacunnet High School boys’ basketball coach Jack Ford – and the folks on the awards committee agreed that the LHS senior cager was worthy of the honor.
“Kate began playing organized basketball in her freshman year. Over the next four years, she has improved by leaps and bounds, culminating in career highs this season in points, rebounds, assists, and steals,” said Theos. “Kate also led the team in rebounding this season, even though she is only 5 feet 6 inches tall. She is respected by both teammates and coaches for her tireless work ethic and her team-first attitude. Kate is a special athlete, but more importantly she is a special person. She has always put the needs of others ahead of her own, and I believe that is what makes her the perfect Jack Ford Award candidate.”
Having Theos put her name forth as a nominee for the Ford award hit Balcom like a bolt out of the blue, as did the news that she’d won it.
“I was surprised when I was nominated for the award because I had never heard of it before, and I felt honored when I was chosen as the winner. I’m very thankful for the support of my coach Nick Theos and the other Division I coaches who voted for me,” she said.
Balcom – who is home-schooled – was an important member of the Lady Lancers’ state-title winning teams at the ends of the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. She was also a co-captain on this past winter’s LHS girls’ contingent, which fell just two victories short of a third straight D-I championship.
On the court, Balcom finished her senior hoop season having averaged 8.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 4.4 steals, 1.3 blocks, and just under 10 points (9.4) per game.
Academically, the senior standout carries an unweighted grade-point average of 4.0, is a National Merit Scholar and a U.S. Presidential Scholar Award candidate, and she scored a 2,300 in the SAT’s to finish among the top 50 percent of students across the country.
The Lady Lancer has been awarded a full, Trustee Fellow scholarship at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. Balcom said she plans to study math and play basketball in college.
“Kate accumulated approximately 580 hours of volunteer service during high school through various activities,” said Theos.
The LHS hoop standout has volunteered at basketball clinics to teach skills to younger players, participated in two, week-long service trips to Quebec to teach religious education programs to Cree Indian children, volunteered weekly as a student-leader in a religious education program for children, and for three years she taught an eight-week, after-school religious education program for kids at a Derry elementary school.
Balcom is also a co-inventor of an anti-distracted driving device who campaigned against texting while driving.
CAPTION: Versatile LHS senior Kate Balcom had her hoop, academic, and community accomplishments recognized recently with the Ford Award. Courtesy photo