GCA twins will continue together at UT-Knoxville

By Steve Williams

Gracie and Lucas Hollifield definitely got a kick out of their prep careers at Grace Christian Academy. Playing soccer and football, how couldn’t they?

They also are the first twins chosen as the top female and male Student-Athletes of the Year at their school in The Knoxville Focus’ 13th annual recognition of the awards.

“It was a blessing,” said mom, Gretchen Hollifield, last Thursday at GCA. “Just very lucky that I’ve got such good students, good athletes. I give the Lord all the credit. I’m just very blessed to have two great kids and I enjoyed watching every minute of it. I’m going to miss it so much.”

Gretchen added that she and her husband Junior “have been there for every step of the way as much as we can. I don’t think I’ve ever missed anything, but he has occasionally for work.”

Gracie played four years on the school soccer team in the fall and was team captain her senior season.

The Lady Rams took advantage of Gracie’s versatility this past season and she described it as being “all over the field,” playing midfield, forward or the center back position. “Attacking forward would have been my strongest position,” she said. “I like getting up and scoring goals.”

Gracie scored 14 goals (tie for team high) and five assists in just 17 games and was named to the All-District, All-Region, All-PrepXtra and All-State teams.

For GCA’s team awards, she received the “Confidently Competitive” award as well as the “Contagiously Hard Working” award.

While Gracie played soccer in the fall, brother Lucas was on the varsity football team for three years and stood out as a combo kicker and punter.

He was ranked a 4.5 star kicker and punter at the Kohl’s Kicking Camp.

In addition to All-State honors as a senior, Lucas was selected the Division II-AA East Region Special Teams Player of the Year (for the second season in a row) with 17 touchbacks, a 38.9 punt average, and 35 kicking points.

Hollifield was named to the News Sentinel’s All-Prep Xtra team and was the second team punter on The Knoxville Focus / Coaches’ All-Knox County team. He also was chosen to play in the Rivalry Showcase All-Star game.

Lucas played soccer four years in the spring and was recognized as Knoxville News Sentinel’s “Impact Player to Watch” as a senior. He served as captain and helped lead the Rams to their first district title since 2016, finishing with a team-high 11 goals and being nominated for District Player of the Year.

Looking back at her high school career, Gracie said: “It was super nice to be with him (Lucas) the entire four years and go through everything together and celebrate each other’s successes.”

Lucas said it was Gracie who actually got him started in sports.

“She started playing soccer when she was 8 or 9 years old,” he recalled. “I actually sat out the first year and after I watched her play for a year, I told my mom that was something I want to do. So she is the one who really got me into soccer and I stuck with it through the high school tenure. I’m really thankful for that decision.

“We played alongside each other for a couple of seasons, but once we got older we went our separate ways with different clubs. We got to share some moments when we were younger, but then after that we really went our own way and were able to be successful.”

Playing club soccer in the spring, Gracie said “it was nice to be able to come and watch the boys’ soccer team and watch Lucas play.”

The twins will continue their education together at UT-Knoxville.

Gracie, who had a 4.2 grade point average at Grace Christian, said she will be majoring in Nursing. Lucas, who had a 3.98 GPA, plans to major in Supply Chain Management.