By Seth J. Walker
Rachel Price didn’t think she was going to be able to play college basketball again after she left Tiffin University, leaving after head coach, Pam Oswald left for the same position at Keiser. That all changed once she was contacted by a familiar face, Lawrence Tech Blue Devils head coach Kylene Spiegel. Spiegel had recruited Price when she was an assistant coach under Oswald at Tiffin; though she moved on to Kent State as an assistant coach there by the time Price arrived to Tiffin.
Once Spiegel got the head coaching job at Lawrence Tech, one of the first things she did was contact Price, who was now attending Wright State-Lake to study Biomedical Engineering. Knowing Lawrence Tech offered the same major made it easy for Spiegel to convince Price to join the program.
“It was really great to get back in touch with Coach Ky after I had left Tiffin,” Price said. “Lawrence Tech has a really good program for my major, Biomedical Engineering, and I had the opportunity to play basketball again for a great coach.”
Price arrived to Lawrence Tech January of last year and thus took a redshirt and learned the Blue Devils’ team system. Now this season, she’s playing as a sophomore who gives the team an element it lacked last season, a lock-down defender down the middle with size. As successful as the Blue Devils were last season, they lacked a single player in the lineup at least six-feet tall; as Alex Ruster missed the entire season with a medical redshirt. The addition of the six-foot-one Price allows Spiegel “to put her on the opposing team’s best post player.”
Last season, the Blue Devils, despite beating Madonna in the WHAC quarterfinals, allowed Becca Sabol, one of the conference’s top post scorers, to score 20 points. However, in two games this season against Madonna this season, the Blue Devils limited Sabol to eight and five points respectively. The biggest reason for that was Price being a disruptive force against Sabol. Her presence in the middle has turned a Blue Devils team picked sixth in the WHAC preseason poll into a team now ranked 19th nationally.
“It has been a good transition for me,” Price said. “As a freshman, I was never the biggest kid on the court so I have enjoyed being the five player and working on my post defense and offense. I am excited that my added size has helped our team because we all work really hard on and off the court and I think our work ethic has helped us grow and will allow us to keep growing together as a team.”
Price would be reunited with another familiar face before the season, after Kaylee Patton joined the coaching staff as a graduate assistant. Patton played under both Oswald and Spiegel at Tiffin before following Oswald to Keiser for her final year, but not before playing with Price for a season.
“When Coach Ky told me that Kaylee was going to be a member of the coaching staff, I got really excited,” Price said. “I really enjoyed having the opportunity to play with her my freshman year and then to also have the opportunity to be coached by her. She is someone that I can talk to and ask questions about anything, which can be really helpful.”
Even with the familiar faces Price already knew, she’s gained a new group of friends with the teammates she’s joined at Lawrence Tech, all of whom welcomed her in, including her roommate, senior Hayley Walkowski.
“From the very first week of classes last year, she helped me move in, gave me a tour of the campus to find my classes, and even fixed my schedule,” Price said. “She has become one of my closest friends and continues to help me, on the daily, as a roommate, teammate, and friend.”
Price plans on continuing her education in graduate school and then design prosthetics for amputees in the future, but in the mean time, she’s playing a very important part of the Blue Devils success, not only as a defender, but as a calming presence.
“Rachel is very level headed and doesn’t show a lot of emotion,” Spiegel said. “She doesn’t let anything get to her. She practices everyday with every intention of getting better and game ready.”