Former Parma High School Rivals Working Together to Help the Baldwin Wallace
College Women’s Basketball Team Be Successful
By: Matthew Florjancic, Correspondent
BEREA, OHIO—Rivalries are one of the things that make athletics so interesting. In the sport of basketball, many rivalries help make the months of March and April special for the players, coaches and fans alike. In Parma, Ohio, two games a year always catch the eyes of those looking at the local women’s basketball schedule.
Whether the game is played in a gym on Queens Highway or at a school off State Road, when the Holy Name High School Green Wave and Padua Fransiscan High School Bruins meet, every player wants to win the game. It ends up being your good, old-fashioned rivalty and backyard brawl.
That is exactly what drew 16-year Baldwin Wallace University Women’s Basketball Head Coach Cheri Harrer to 2003 Padua graduate Steffani Jaworski and 2005 Holy Name grads Rachel Quiring and Amanda Mondrach.
“These young women know what it is all about,” said Harrer, the winningest women’s basketball coach in school history with 309 wins and a 309-114 career mark. “They are strong students, good basketball players and they have been challenged to play at a higher level.”
With Harrer leading the trio, the Yellow Jackets are currently ranked sixth nationally in Division III in one poll and 10th in the other and have a perfect 8-0 overall and 4-0 Ohio Athletic Conference record prior to playing this week at the d3Desert Shootout Tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. BW played 17th-ranked Bates College of maine in its first game on Dec. 20 and either Simpson (Iowa) College or ninth-ranked Scranton (Pa.) College on Dec. 22.
Playing against tough competition on the collegiate level is nothing new for Jaworski.
“We are looking forward to playing in Las Vegas,” said Jaworski, who is averaging 6.6 points per game and has canned a team-leading 10 three-pointers. “Every team out there poses a threat, so it should be more good competition.”
Quiring is tallying 3.1 markers, while her high school teammate, Mondrach, pours in eight points a game. She is third on the team in scoring behind senior point guard Nikki Altenweg (Perry) and junior wing Michelle White (Hudson).
Mondrach and Quiring are glad to be on the same team as Jaworski.
“In high school, she (Jaworski) intimidated me,” said Mondrach, who is averaging 7.5 ppg. and grabs 3.5 rebounds a game as a first-year player and starter in all eight games to date. “She was so scrappy on defense. I am so glad I get to play on her team and not against her anymore.”
“She is just a hardworking young woman,” said Quiring, who resides in Brunswick and would like to become a veterinarian after graduation. “She will do anything for the team to make it better and anything for you to make a teammate better
“Steffani is a great teammate,” continued Quiring, who comes off the bench to average 3.3 ppg. in 13 minutes of action per game. “Honestly, I cannot picture playing against her ever again.”
Jaworski also enjoys the new-found camaraderie she has with her former rivals.
“It is actually exciting,” said Jaworski, who is a double major in physical and special education. “We play really well together. Holy Name ran an offense of just pushing the ball like we [Padua] did.
“Rachel is always looking for me going down the floor and Mondie (Mondrach) and I are looking for each other,” she added. “I am two years older than them, so I had some time to get over the high school rivalry.”
When Jaworski and Mondrach first “met” on the court, the former Bruin got the better end of the encounter.
“We [Holy Name] were at their place and there was a loose ball,” Mondrach said. “I dove for it and did not think anybody was coming, [then] Steff comes out of nowhere, dives right for me and we hit heads.
“I had a black eye for two weeks,” Mondrach added. “We laugh about it now. That is what I love about her. She is so motivated and gets everyone else motivated.”
Coach Harrer was not worried about any carryover from their high school days.
“Steff is just a winner and I knew she would take care of those girls [Mondrach and Quiring],” said Harrer, who has led BW to five of the past seven OAC Tournament championships, four of the past seven OAC regular season titles and to the NCAA Division III National Tournament eight of the last 10 years. “We talked about them being teammates now and not opponents.
“That rivalry (Padua versus Holy Name) is gone,” added Harrer. “Now it is BW versus John Carroll and Case in Cleveland, and Capital, Wilmington and the other OAC teams in the OAC. We are all Yellow Jackets, not Bruins or Namers anymore.”
Despite the rivalry being in the past, Jaworski’s favorite high school hoops moment came against the Green Wave.
“My favorite high school memory was senior year against Holy Name,” said Jaworski. “We took them into overtime and won. Then, at their place, we won the NCL [North Coast League] title and beat them by 20 points.”
However, the girls from Holy Name had another game that they consider very special.
“When I was a junior, we beat Regina, who were state champs for three or four years in a row,” Mondrach said. “It was an awesome feeling because nobody thought we could do it.”
“We were the underdogs,” Quiring said. “It was never even close.”
Despite the difficulties of going from high school to college and the fine high school memories, all three of these ladies are focused on helping the Yellow Jackets win a championship.
“I want to see us win the OAC outright and go pretty far in the OAC and NCAA Division III National Tournament, if not all the way,” said Quiring, referring to the Division III national title.
“I would like to see the team bury teams early, instead of letting them hang with us,” Mondrach said.
“I think we are about due for a National Championship,” Jaworski stated proudly. “We have the talent to do so.”
The cover slogan of this year’s Yellow Jacket Women’s Basketball Recruiting Guide which was chosen by the team might state it best for all three. “Success is a Journey, Not a Destination, One Play at a Time!”
Following its trip to Las Vegas, the Yellow Jacket women return to the court on Friday, December 30 when they host 10-0 and unbeaten NCAA Division II Wheeling Jesuit (W.Va.) University in the Ursprung Gymnasium of the Lou Higgins Center at 6:00 p.m.