WADSWORTH — The color red has been engrained in Rachel Goddard’s mind for her entire life.
It’s fitting, perhaps, that the standout girls basketball player won’t have to leave her Wadsworth outfits in the closet.
The reigning Gazette MVP ended her long-awaited college search Saturday, and accepted a full-ride offer from Mid-American Conference member Miami of Ohio.
“It was something that I couldn’t turn down because it’s been a dream and goal of mine to play in the MAC,” she said. “Their basketball program is very similar to Wadsworth. They like have a good transition game and they are very fundamental.”
Goddard, who is leaning towards majoring in business marketing or physcology and carries a 3.9 grade-point average, was told by longtime coach Maria Fantanarosa that she likely be a part of the 2013-14 rotation.
With so many good vibes coming out of Oxford, Goddard didn’t hesitate to verbally commit before leaving town.
“It’s good to hear that you’re going to be a part of the program right when you come there, so that affected my decision,” she said.
Playing for one of Northeast Ohio’s elite programs — Wadsworth has a state championship, four regional titles and 16 Suburban League championships since 1997 — Goddard quickly established herself as a undersized yet extremely rugged point guard after inheriting the position from Taylor Woods.
As a junior, Goddard averaged 10.8 points, 3.3 assists and 2.1 steals and led Medina County with a .532 shooting percentage while helping Wadsworth reach the Norwalk Division I Regional championship game. She was named honorable mention All-Ohio for her efforts.
Those numbers have increased as a senior, as Goddard leads the team with a 13.0 scoring average despite playing limited fourth-quarter minutes during Wadsworth’s dozen SL blowouts. Her efforts have helped Grizzlies (20-2) obtain the No. 6 ranking in the state poll, and they are a heavy favorite to win the Medina Division I District.
The MAC is more than familiar with Wadsworth players over the past 10 years. Courtney Vujas and Ashley Veal played at Akron, Cassie Schrock (2007) started four years at Eastern Michigan and current Grizzlies assistant coach Jen Uhl (2007) was a key factor in Bowling Green State’s 2011 run to the Division I tournament.
“Colleges like to look at Wadsworth players because Wadsworth players are usually disciplined, fundamental and all-around good kids,” Goddard said.
Miami will enter Wednesday’s game at Buffalo 14-10 overall and 8-6 in the MAC. Under Fantanarosa, the Redhawks have nine winning seasons, including two Mid-American Conference East Division crowns, and won the 2003-04 MAC regular-season and 2008 MAC Tournament championships.
While Goddard no doubt wants to help Miami improve that resume, her sole goal at the moment is helping the Grizzlies to a state championship.
“It’s a big weight lifted off my shoulders,” she said. “I’ve been stressed about it because it’s was down to the wire. Now I can focus on the tournament run.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.