Hard to believe this young lady found time to eat with all of her activities, not only in sports but in school as well. She surely needs a huge trophy case to house all of her hardware.
She’s another of the outstanding group of Lady Stars when Title IX first opened the doors for female athletes. Excelling in volleyball, basketball and track and field and in the classroom as well, she will go down as one of the top female student/athletes in the school’s history.
She played volleyball all four years including three on the varsity. She was all-SYL and all-Area in both her junior and senior years and was named team MVP as a senior. In basketball, she was a point guard, again playing all four years, the last three on the varsity. For her efforts she was named all-Area again as a senior. In track and field she was a four-year varsity standout, running the 800 meters, the 1,600 meters plus the mile relay while also competing in the triple-jump. At one time she held the school’s triple jump record. She placed 2nd in the 1600 meter race in the County meet . Linda won a medal in the SYL meet all four years and as a senior again named team MVP.
In 1984 she was the North girl’s State Rep in Sacramento. In 1985 she was awarded the Mayor’s Trophy, symbolic of athletic, academic, leadership and community service. Also in 1985 was given the Sam Lynn Award for the outstanding female athlete at North High. That was the same award her NH Hall of Fame father Dick Ross had won a few years before. They may be one of the few father-daughter combos to ever do that. That’s not all. She was also named winner of the Tyack Award given annually to the outstanding senior female scholar-athletes in all of Kern County.
She didn’t stop there. On to Bakersfield College where she again competed in volleyball and basketball for two years and track and field only as a freshman. In volleyball she was all-Metropolitan Conference both years and team MVP as a soph. In basketball she was a 2-year starter. In track and field she ran the 800 meters, the 1,600 meters and threw the javelin as well. She was honored with the Bob Hallum Award as the top freshman athlete and then earned the title of top sophomore Athlete of the Year in 1987.
From BC she transferred to the University of California at San Diego. Competing just in volleyball as a junior, she was part of the UCSD team that won their 3rd straight D-III National Title in 1988. She was on the court for games 3, 4 and 5 in the come from behind victory. Unfortunately they failed to make it to the National Tournament during her senior year.
So in 1988 and 1989 and finding too much time on her hands, she was the top girl intramural athlete based on highest point total in 10 events. There was softball hitting, field goal kicking, basketball shooting, mile run, 100 meter sprint, shot put, high jump, weight lifting, 100 meter freestyle swim and bowling. It seems there was nothing Linda couldn’t do.
She credits the great North High coaches Penny Roberts, Tom McQuin and Gary Kuster; administrators Bill Bimat and Warren Brooks who served as mentors; and being surrounded by incredibly athletic teammates including Wendy Martell, Karen Langston, Melinda Harrison, Pam Ash Boyles and many others.
But most of all she credits her father who inspired her to become a high school math teacher. She now lives in the San Diego area and teaches at Rancho Buena Vista High. She’s been married to Doug Van Solkema for 27 years and they have three daughters, Jodi, Megan and Anna. Ironically Megan’s College team won the D-III National Title this year, 28 years after Mom had won one.
What a resume, what a career. Congrats Linda, the fans owe you another big cheer.