Tenacious Trojan roundball rookie Monfort-Palomino comes from good SAIT stock
October 2, 2012
CALGARY — The family ties were there, but she laced the knot all on her own.
You might think that prized basketball recruit Kristen Monfort-Palomino was predestined to end up in a Trojans jersey, given that her parents were both SAIT roundball stalwarts back in their day. Chris Monfort and Junior Palomino, however, chose to let their teenaged point guard run the floor on her own terms, so to speak.
“I never really thought about it until my last year (of high school), in terms of where I was going to end up. But once I decided SAIT had the program I wanted to take, and that it was an all-around good school, my parents kind of gave me a nice little push,” says Monfort-Palomino, 19, with a laugh.
“They definitely wanted me to make my own decision, and head somewhere I was comfortable. It just so happened to be SAIT . . . so they were pretty excited.”
The five-foot-five Monfort-Palomino (1st year, Calgary, legal assistant) will make her pre-season, home-court debut with the Trojans this weekend as Donovan Martin’s crew hosts its annual SAIT Fall Classic tournament at the Campus Centre gym. Monfort-Palomino’s presence on the SAIT roster is a major-league coup for the Women of Troy, who were among a half-dozen Alberta post-secondary squads chasing her when she graduated from Sir Winston Churchill High School in the spring of 2011.
And alongside her numerous attributes, Monfort-Palomino has serious lineage. Mom Chris Monfort played for the Trojan women during the 1989-90 season, assuming club captaincy. Dad Junior Palomino also wore a ‘C’ at SAIT, leading the Trojan men to an Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) title in 1994-95. Both earned ACAC all-conference status.
While Monfort-Palomino doesn’t know much about her folks as players, she’s extremely familiar with them as coaches. At the club level, she learned off the chalkboard of both while playing at Foundation Youth Basketball, which they co-founded in the late 1990s.
And in high school, she played on Springbank Phoenix squads, coached by Palomino, that won a 3A provincial championship in 2009 and finished fifth at provincials one year later.
“They’ve been pretty well my only coaches since I started playing basketball,” says Monfort-Palomino, who also played club with the SAIT Junior Trojans. “They’re very competitive, and they have high expectations for everyone.
“They made sure they facilitated a place — or, in games, an offence — that was beneficial for everyone, so that our team could be the most successful we could be, given the talent we had.”
Monfort-Palomino, who spent the 2011-12 season in Toronto living with her grandmother and taking a few high-school option courses, will vie with Erin Tateson (2nd year, Brooks, Alta., business administration) for floor time at the point guard position this winter.
“Kristen’s very strong, fundamentally, to start with. She’s had excellent coaching all the way up, both in high school and her club,” says Martin, now in his sixth season in charge of the Trojans. “She’s also got a tremendous tenacity about her . . . you need to have that to be successful as a basketball player, but she is tenacious in the extreme. She works very, very hard.
“As a passer, she’s exceptional. And the thing that truly sets her apart is her sheer strength.”
The SAIT Fall Classic at the Campus Centre will feature seven ACAC squads, as well as the Mount Royal University Cougars, who recently moved over to the Canada West conference of Canadian Interuniversity Sport. The Trojans, who began the season last weekend at the first annual CIS/ACAC Pre-Season Showcase in Edmonton, will face the Lakeland College Rustlers of Lloydminster on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 8 p.m., the MacEwan University Griffins on Friday, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m., and the NAIT Ooks on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 4 p.m.
“We have a very good team atmosphere, and competitive, encouraging veterans — the kind of people you want to play with, and be around,” says Monfort-Palomino. “And coach Martin expects a lot from me. He pushes me out of my comfort zone, which is good. He’s competitive and intense, but in a positive way.”
SAIT Fall Classic
(annual pre-season exhibition
women’s basketball tournament;
all games at SAIT’s Campus Centre gym)
Date Visitor @ Home Venue Time
Thursday, Oct. 4 Olds vs. MRU Campus Centre 2 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 4 Lethbridge vs. MacEwan Campus Centre 4 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 4 NAIT vs. Medicine Hat Campus Centre 6 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 4 SAIT vs. Lakeland Campus Centre 8 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 5 Medicine Hat vs. Lakeland Campus Centre 2 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 5 NAIT vs. MRU Campus Centre 4 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 5 Lethbridge vs. Olds Campus Centre 6 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 5 SAIT vs. MacEwan Campus Centre 8 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 6 Lethbridge vs. Lakeland Campus Centre 10 a.m.
Saturday, Oct. 6 MRU vs. MacEwan Campus Centre 12 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 6 Olds vs. Medicine Hat Campus Centre 2 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 6 SAIT vs. NAIT Campus Centre 4 p.m.