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Schmidt going to ‘big time’ WVU

Tribune-Review
| Friday, November 14, 2014 12:01 a.m.
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Ringgold senior basketball player Marlena Schmidt signed with West Virginia University Thursday. Pictured at the signing are, from the left, her AAU coach John Sargent, her mother Tara Schmidt, Schmidt, her father Carl Schmidt and Ringgold girls' coach Laura Grimm.

When Ringgold girls’ basketball coach Laura Grimm talks about senior center, Marlena Schmidt signing with West Virginia University the realization of coaching a high Division-I player is mind-boggling.

“I try to put it in perspective,” Grimm said. “Over the last few years, throughout the WPIAL, there have been a handful of girls’ basketball players to sign with really high Division-I programs. Just a handful.

“For Marlena to sign with a really big school like WVU — a Big 12 school — is just an amazing accomplishment. I’m so happy for her.”

Schmidt, 6-6, averaged 11 points, 11 rebounds and 7 blocked shots per game as a junior. She also led the team with a 46.3 field goal percentage.

Ringgold was 13-10 a year ago, but caught fire at the end of the season, winning eight of nine games to reach the WPIAL Class AAA quarterfinals.

Schmidt, who was getting attention from other D-1 schools, attended a summer camp at WVU last year that sparked her interest in the program.

“I went to that summer camp before my junior year and we started talking and it grew from there,” Schmidt said. “I heard from a lot of other schools, but I stuck with West Virginia. I think it’s a really good choice for me. I’m very happy.”

Grimm describes Schmidt as unselfish.

“Her stats aren’t eye-opening because she does whatever we need her to do on a given night,” Grimm said. “Sometimes we needed her to score, and she did. Other times, we needed her to rebound, and she did.

“She has a presence that is impressive. I think that’s her biggest attribute. Even if she doesn’t block a shot, she alters it. Her presence on the floor allows our other players to be more aggressive.”

Schmidt, who says her strength is her ability to adapt to different coaches, players and situations, said is excited about the prospects of her senior season.

“I think we should be really good,” she said. “We have good players back and some good freshmen coming up. I think we will go further than we did last year. I’m really excited.”

She is the daughter of Carl and Tara Schmidt of Eighty Four.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or joliver@tribweb.com.

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