Getting to Know ... No.21 Kaitana "KT" Martinez

This fall DartmouthSports.com will be running a "Get to Know You Feature" with the freshman members of the Dartmouth women's basketball team. This week's question and answer session is with guard Kaitana Martinez from Hailey, Idaho.

 Martinez, a two-time Idaho All-State selection, led her high school team to back-to-back Great Basin Conference District championships and also runner-up honors at the 2011 4A State Championship.

 DartmouthSports.com: You're a long way from home, what attracted you to Dartmouth all the way from Idaho?
Martinez:
  The best of EVERYTHING seems to come together at Dartmouth. I have the opportunity to play Division I basketball, receive one of the best educations in the world where students demonstrate collaboration rather than cut-throat competition, and I get to live in a recreational community that provides a sense of security. It is the perfect place to call home.

DartmouthSports.com: You've faced a lot of adversity with your knees, how have you become more of a student of the game while rehabbing your knees?
Martinez:
I've learned a lot due to my recent adversity. Back-to-back ACL tears within a year is a tough physical challenge, but it is even more so a test psychologically. I had to learn to define myself first as a person... "What I can bring to a community" and second by "What I do." The process has taught me how to deal with challenge, that no matter what hand we're dealt we learn to accept what's happened and make the most of it. A lot of life is the disposition we choose to portray, and if we approach difficult situations with positivity and optimism then we can overcome adversity. For me, growth in faith and personal identity has been key.

Related to basketball specifically, my adversity has allowed me to take a step back and observe. I saw the game from a different perspective, analyzing every aspect as if I were a coach. It showed me that there are so many other components that go into the game beyond physical play-- leadership, communication and perseverance. The adversity I faced instilled an even greater appreciation for the game. Despite my challenges, I'm grateful for the learning associated with the process.

DartmouthSports.com: You have a little experience throwing a football! Tell us what it was like playing quarterback?
Martinez:
Playing quarterback was a lot of fun and helped me gain a certain toughness about me. Since I was playing against boys, I learned that girls did not have to be inferior to boys, and that we are capable of competing with them. Granted I was just a little girl (before junior high) but it allowed me to gain respect from the opposite gender. Playing quarterback is a lot like being a point guard-- you must lead, dictate, and perform.

DartmouthSports.com: Do you have any pregame rituals or superstitions?
Martinez:  
In high school I had an unbelievable amount of rituals and superstitions. My pre-game routine had to be the same-- stretch, mental preparation, ball handling, form shooting, partner shooting, dance! During mental preparation, I take that time to pray. I'm a very faithful person, so that's the most critical part of my pregame rituals and superstitions.

DartmouthSports.com: What are you most looking forward to being a member of the Dartmouth women's basketball team?
Martinez:
I'm looking forward to being a part of a family away from home where I can learn more about the game I love. Of course, I'm also looking forward to celebrating that 18th Ivy League Championship we hope to earn!

DartmouthSports.com: What team on the schedule are you looking forward to playing this season?
Martinez:
I'm looking forward to playing everyone in the Ivy League, because that's what matters most. However, I am also excited to compete against Syracuse and BYU. Both are big names, and one of my club teammates is a walk-on player at BYU. Additionally, I have some family ties to BYU. 

DartmouthSports.com: What are your favorite professional basketball teams and/or players?
Martinez:
My favorite players are Rajon Rondo (Celtics), Chris Paul (Clippers), Dwayne Wade (Miami), and Derrick Rose (Chicago). Other players I admire for physical abilities are: Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant. However, my favorite female players to watch growing up or in high school were Candace Parker, Skylar Diggins, Maya Moore, and Diana Taurasi.

DartmouthSports.com: What are you thinking of majoring in here at Dartmouth?
Martinez:
I'm interested in Neuroscience and Pre-medicine. I would ultimately like to serve as a doctor in third-world countries. To me, there is something so special about serving others, and I aspire to work for a Doctor's Without Borders program.