Luverne's Kamryn Van Batavia could become Minnesota's all-time leading scorer
The Luverne senior currently sits at third place in all-time points scored in Minnesota girls hockey history. The Minnesota State commit currently leads the entire state in goals scored in 2022-23.
LUVERNE, Minn. — What comes to mind when you think of names like Natalie Darwitz, Dani Cameranesi or Nicole Schammel? Probably that they are some of the best players to come out of Minnesota high school hockey.
Well, you might have to add Kamryn Van Batavia to that list in the future, as she is coming close to breaking multiple MSHSL records of those three legends, among many others who have been considered to be the best to play the sport in the state.
Kamryn, who many people call "KVB," currently has 285 goals and 161 assists, for 446 total points over her six-year varsity career at Luverne.
Those 446 points currently lists her at third all-time in the state, according to the MSHSL website. Nicole Schammel is in second-place with 457 while Natalie Darwitz sits at the top with 468.
With 285 goals, that puts KVB at second all-time, only behind Darwitz's 316. Compiling those 160 assists, that puts the senior forward at fourth all-time, behind Cameranesi (165), Schammel (184) and Jessie Aney (217).
Van Batavia currently leads the entire state of Minnesota in goals this season in 2022-23. Last year she lead the state in total points scored with 127, which was 36 points ahead of the next closest skater on the leaderboard.
So yeah. She's pretty good.
Kamryn Van Batavia scores the dagger in the section final for the girls varsity!! pic.twitter.com/ptDJa6fuAc— Luverne High School Hockey (@LHSPuckSquad) February 12, 2020
Growing up in Luverne, located in the southwest corner of the state where Highway 75 and Interstate 90 intersect, and a community of less than 5,000 residents, it's not usually the first place people think of when they think of big hockey communities in Minnesota. But, Luverne girls hockey has been a powerhouse program the past few years with three consecutive state tournament appearances.
"My hockey story definitely started out with my dad," says Van Batavia. "I have early memories of my dad bringing me out to skate and just going out to the rink to watch and play hockey."
Hockey has been a family affair for the Van Batavia's as both of Kamryn's sisters also play the sport. Maddie, the oldest sibling, played hockey and was a senior when Kamryn was in seventh grade. The youngest sister, Ellisyn, is currently a seventh-grader playing with Kamryn at the varsity level.
Kamryn was brought up to the high school level in middle school and immediately made an impact on the team when she joined, scoring over a point-per-game in her seventh-grade season.
Congratulations to Kamryn Van Batavia on scoring her 100th career goal during last night’s home opener! pic.twitter.com/zAbBurL8W5— Luverne Girls Game Feed (@LuverneGameFeed) January 20, 2021
"We knew she was good, obviously," said Luverne head coach Tony Sandbulte. "But at the time she was just a 5-foot, maybe 100-pound seventh-grader, and just every year she made big strides and progressed and kept working and ended up growing to be 6-foot-1 and strong. She put her time in the weight room and shot countless pucks."
Even though some may think that growing up playing hockey in a small town like Luverne may be a disadvantage, Van Batavia said that she wouldn't want to grow up playing the sport anywhere else. The environment and the atmosphere of the hockey community there are second-to-none for the standout player.
Being our first Division I product to come out of the program is a really big deal.
In the fall of 2022, KVB had 243 points to her name over four seasons. In October of that year, she ended up committing to play Division I hockey at Minnesota State.
Being close to home will definitely be a bonus for the Luverne native, but she mostly just wanted to find the program that would be the right fit for her.
"Mankato was one of my top schools. After I went on my unofficial visit and went to some of the camps in the summer, I knew it was the right fit for me," she said.
Before starting the recruiting process, Kamryn's older sister Maddie told her that she would just know when she stepped foot on campus if it was the place she was supposed to be, and that's exactly what happened.
"We've had good players in the past, but she's just really brought it to another level," Sandbulte said. "Being our first Division I product to come out of the program is a really big deal ... she's brought our program to new heights with making it to the state tournament the last few years."
Sandbulte talked a lot about how Van Batavia has been able to advance her game every season she's played on varsity. She started out at a point-per-game pace in middle school and ended up posting a massive 127 points over 28 games in 2021-22 as a junior.
"I think I've grown most in my competitiveness and that part of the sport," said the forward. "Playing 17 and 18-year-olds as a seventh-grader is definitely a challenge, but learning how to use my skills and knowledge of the game has gotten me to succeed at the varsity level."
She also states that having older role models when she was younger helped her develop her game a lot as well, and she hopes to be that role model for younger players in the community today.
There may be some pressure on Van Batavia to be the team's leader and biggest point-producer, but it's all a good thing to the 17-year-old.
"I feel pressure, but in a positive way," she says. "Seeing the fans and hockey community support me and my team is what drives me to succeed and what gives that positive pressure — just being able to show these girls that they can chase their dreams too."
So far in 2022-23, Van Batavia has 76 points over 26 games and the Cardinals are 20-6. The hope is to make it to the state tournament for the fourth-consecutive season.
Kamryn says that one of the best parts of her senior season so far has been being able to play with her younger sister Ellisyn. The Van Batavia's play on the same line together, and Kamryn says that it's something that makes their bond special and unique.
Off the ice, the senior captain likes to show her school spirit by attending other school sporting events. She also competes on the volleyball team and sings in choir. She's even found a liking recently to her sports and news reporting class, which is surprising considering that Van Batavia is not the biggest fan of interviews.
"She's just very likeable, she walks into the room and can just light it up," Sandbulte said. "She just has a spark to her where she's always having fun and goofing around."
After shattering so many school records and now being a top player in the history of Minnesota girls hockey, Van Batavia was recently named a Ms. Hockey semifinalist.
"She loves the game of hockey and truly loves playing. Because of that, she brings great energy and has great work ethic, and finds a way to score goals too," Sandbulte said.
Luverne will play in the Section 3A championship game this week against New Ulm, with a chance to head back to the state tournament. Van Batavia has a handful of games left to keep pushing towards the all-time scoring, goals and assists records in the state.
After she finishes up this season with the Cardinals, the senior captain will play for Minnesota State this upcoming fall.