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St. Bede senior Lydia Stariha (seated, center) committed Thursday to play basketball and softball at Division III Grinnell College in Iowa. Also at the signing were her parents Mike and Resa Stariha (seated), SBA athletic director and girls basketball coach Tom McGunnigal (standing, left) and SBA softball coach Bill Prokup (standing, right). Submitted photo
St. Bede senior Lydia Stariha is looking forward to continuing her athletic career at Division III Grinnell College.
Make that two careers.
Stariha committed to play both basketball and softball at Grinnell in a ceremony Thursday at the Academy.
“I’m really looking forward to stepping up my game to another level. I’m really excited to get the new experience. All of college is going to be exciting and new,” Stariha said.
The senior standout, who was an IBCA All-State Honorable Mention pick on the hardwood this winter, said she set out in search of a D-III school in order to have the opportunity to continue in athletics at the next level.
She said academics were a big part of her search.
“I started looking into chemistry programs because even though I’d love to, I can’t play basketball forever,” said Stariha, who looks to get into environmental chemistry in the future. “They have a really top-notch program there.”
Stariha is excited about having the chance to play two sports for the Pioneers, who compete in the Midwest Conference.
“I’m really happy they work so well together that I can continue doing both. I love basketball and I love softball, so it’s great to be able to balance both,” Stariha said.
St. Bede softball coach Bill Prokup said Grinnell will be getting a top-notch student-athlete.
“(She’s a) good student, a good kid and a good ballplayer — both basketball and softball. You get into Grinell because of your academics, and that’s why we’re here at St. Bede,” Prokup said.
“The opportunity to (study) at a great school with a great reputation and also play sports — it takes a special kid to get to that place,” added Prokup, saying that Stariha’s pedigree — older sisters Jillian and Sarah both had strong athletic careers at the Acadmey with Sarah going to a two-sport career at Beloit College — and her father Mike is an assistant coach on the softball team — has helped her along the way.