June 24, 2016

Mostly sunny

College signing: OU is the best fit for Grace Campbell

WADSWORTH — Through all the mail, emails and other college materials, Grace Campbell just had to look at what worked best for her.

The Wadsworth senior soccer player found that school in Ohio University, signing a national letter of intent to play for the Division I Mid-American Conference school.

Grace Campbell

“The college process was very stressful, but it really forced me to think about what was best for me,” Campbell said. “Ohio University has a standout program, which I’m privileged to be a part of.
“I’m very excited to be a Bobcat. It will be a lot of work, but I couldn’t be more ready.”

The first time the 17-year-old stepped on the Athens campus, she knew she had found the place she was going to call home for the next four years.

Ohio coach Stacy Strauss played with some of the coaches from Pennine United, the club team Campbell has played for in the offseason, and saw her play in tournaments when she was a sophomore.

“I absolutely love the campus and I like the college-town feel,” said Campbell, who also was considering Bowling Green, Olivet, James Madison and Campbell University. “The buildings are beautiful and they have amazing athletic facilities. It’s nice and contained.

“It’s a good distance from home, not too far, not too close, and the weather is just a bit more bearable.”

Campbell, a 5-foot-5 defender, helped Wadsworth claim its first Suburban League title and first district championship this season.

With her leadership at the sweeper position, the Grizzlies backline tied the school mark with 10 goals allowed, something she hopes to bring to the Bobcats (7-11-2, 4-5-2).

“The OU soccer program is a respected team in the MAC and I wanted to be a part of a program that would challenge me and allow me to play at the highest level I could,” she said.

Combine that with Strauss’ tough-love coaching style and the Wadsworth player was sold.

“I really appreciate (Coach Strauss’) direct approach and how her love of the game transfers into her coaching,” Campbell said. “She means business, which I like, yet at the same time she’s a fun, approachable person outside of soccer.”

Campbell joins an incoming recruiting class that includes Cloverleaf’s Heather Buckwald and Buckeye’s Emily Giesen. The roster already features Medina resident and former Walsh star Alec Stec, along with former Medina standout Nicolle Varney.

Campbell, who has a 3.7 grade-point average, is considering sports nutrition as her major.

“As a group, the current team is very welcoming,” Campbell said. “I feel that as an incoming freshman, they will be a huge support system.

“I was recruiting as a defender and I hope to be able to contribute to their program as I was able to for Wadsworth. My hope is to play as soon as possible. During the next eight months, I will be spending a lot of time preparing.”

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.