Player Spotlight: Oakland’s Chloe Guingrich
By Seth J. Walker
Energy. That’s probably the one word that would best describe watching Oakland’s Chloe Guingrich play. She has a lot of it when she plays, whether it’s going for an offensive rebound, coming up with a steal, or going after a loose ball. That describes the 5-11 freshman from Hudsonville, Michigan.
“She plays with unbelievable energy,” Oakland head coach Jeff Tungate said. “She rebounds the ball extremely well and she goes to the offensive glass.”
Guingrich was one of four players for the Golden Grizzlies battling for open starting spot vacated by Hannah Little, now playing professionally in Greece. Though redshirt sophomore Nikita Telesford initially won that battle, Guingrich still distinguished herself as the only freshman getting significant minutes off the bench.
Then the moment came, when Tungate decided to change things up and give Guingrich her first start, against Northern Kentucky on January 6th, which Guingrich said made her “terrified,” with a laugh.
“He told me in front of the whole team,” Guingrich said. “It was during practice, but was kind of nervous, a little scared, because I wanted to prove to the team that I was going to hold up my end and they wouldn’t have to babysit me while I’m on the court.”
Guingrich has been a fixture in the starting lineup since then, and while she’s still adjusting to the college level, she’s feels her time at Hudsonville High prepared her well for this stage. Along with the energy she provides, she also exhibits a high basketball IQ and is already displaying leadership skills, helping her teammates by calling out defensive assignments.
“My coach (at Hudsonville) was like my second dad,” Guingrich said. “He pushed me not physically but mentally. He told me things that I could do to help our team that also would help me too. He made my basketball time there very enjoyable; because of that, I wanted to perform for him. I wanted to make him proud of what I was doing for him and what our team was doing together.”
Already in her young college career, Guingrich has faced some power five opponents, played in a tournament in Las Vegas and taken part in the rivalry with Detroit Mercy, the Metro Series, but she sites the game against Michigan State as the point that it really began to sink in that she was playing college hoops.
“I know we lost against MSU, so I’m not going to talk about that aspect of it, but what I mean about is how hard we played,” Guingrich said. “That’s when it opened my eyes up, like oh, this team can do whatever they want like, (what they) set their mind to. That’s when I noticed it and then when we played Michigan too because we were very close in that game and I could tell that the drive in our eyes and the fire we all had in that game really opened my eyes up to college hoops.”
The Golden Grizzlies also have a program where upperclassmen serve as big bears, mentoring the younger players, each with a little bear assigned to them. Guingrich’s big bear is senior forward Leah Somerfield, a player whose skill set is somewhat similar to hers. Somerfield has elevated her play as of late with back-to-back games of 20 points or more against Detroit Mercy and Youngstown State, providing a strong post presence not only with her scoring, but here rebounding ability, a role that Guingrich may fill in future seasons.
“I enjoy having Chloe as my little bear,” Somerfield said. “She pushes me to be the best that I can. I hope that I push her to the best she can be. I want to be a great example. I want to leave a legacy for her (and) I want her to replace my shoes when I leave.”