After leading Shattuck-St. Mary's 19U to a national title, Payton Holloway is headed to UMD
Holloway led the Sabres in goals, assists and total points this season and will join the Bulldogs in the fall.
FARIBAULT, Minn. — Payton Holloway, the leading scorer of the Shattuck-St. Mary's 19U team that just won a national title , is set to join Minnesota Duluth for the upcoming 2023-24 season.
The 5-foot-8 forward played at over a point-per-game pace this season for her team, which included 35 goals in 52 games. That's 22 more goals than the next closest skater on the roster, according to Elite Prospects .
And she's not just a goalscorer. Her coach at Shattuck-St. Mary's, Mitch Baker, gives her a ton of credit for her high hockey IQ and her reliability in all three zones.
"She's awesome," said Baker. "She's quiet, super quiet, you know, really respected by her teammates. Hard worker, and she's disciplined in everything she does."
But going through the college recruiting process wasn't necessarily an easy one for the 19U standout.
Holloway originally committed to the University of Wisconsin back in January of 2022. Growing up in Tomah, which is about 100 miles northwest of Madison, it only made sense to commit to the team from her home state.
But, like many other hockey players in the past two seasons, recruiting plans changed. Holloway was set to join the Badgers in 2022-23, but she decided to reopen her recruitment when she realized there was a long road ahead to get playing time at Wisconsin.
"With all the fifth years [skaters who used their extra year of eligibility], and with COVID kind of pushing stuff back, I wouldn't have been able to play until like my late sophomore or maybe junior year, and I wanted to play all four years," said Holloway. "So I sought other options."
Then on Nov. 24, 2022, the 5-foot-8 center announced her commitment to play for Minnesota Duluth.
"I just like the environment, the coaches, they just made me feel welcome," she said.
And she already is familiar with Dani Burgen and Dani Brunette, who both just completed their freshman seasons at UMD, along with recruit Quinn Dunkle, who played on the Madison Capitols with Payton for a while when they were younger.
Because her plans for college changed in the offseason, Holloway actually graduated high school in 2022 and is currently taking AP classes to earn college credit in her postgraduate year at Shattuck-St. Mary's. But taking an extra year and being able to refine her game even further has been a plus.
Payton Holloway, signed as a Bulldog ✅ pic.twitter.com/lIVG3Tm4rQ— UMD Women's Hockey (@UMDWHockey) December 19, 2022
"She's a natural center," said Baker. "We played her at wing most of the season last year, really just to teach the game a bit more and help her to understand some defensive reliability pieces. She went back to the middle of the ice this year and it's certainly been fantastic. You know, players like that, when you get around the puck more it benefits everybody that's on the ice."
And Baker thinks that Holloway is very ready to take that next step up to the Division I level.
"I think her learning curve is going to be much, much smaller than a lot of true freshman coming in because of the extra year she took," he added. "I perceive her as stepping in, playing key minutes day one. Certainly as the year goes on she's going to provide her worth and continue adding more and more impact to that lineup."
Holloway will start school in August at Minnesota Duluth and will join the Bulldogs for the 2023-24 season.