For as long as she can remember, sophomore Grace Wolhowe has been spending Saturdays cooped up in a gym with her father, brother, sisters and sometimes even her grandfather working up a sweat, putting up extra shots and working on the game she loves — basketball.
For Concordia’s women’s basketball player Grace, the game is all she has known. Her grandfather and dad played collegiately at Concordia. Her older brother played collegiately at Bethel. Her sisters played in high school and are still currently playing. When senior year of high school came rolling around, she didn’t blink twice about playing at the collegiate level.
“Yeah, 100 percent I knew I wanted to play,” Grace said. “Cause after college it’s kind of like girls you don’t see them going and play- ing pickup ball, but guys do all the time, even if they are old.”
With her father and grandfather alumni from Concordia and her older sister, Brooke Wolhowe a current student at Concordia, following in her family’s footsteps seemed right. While Grace was looking into schools to at- tend, the MIAC was the only conference she looked into. In fact, she only applied to three schools: Concordia, Saint Benedict’s and Bethel. Unlike a good majority of her family, she chose St. Ben’s initially.
“One of my thoughts was well I want to be different than my brother and sister – that kind of was one of the factors,” Grace said.
According to Brooke, the kids didn’t feel pressured into picking a MIAC school because of their parents. They made the decisions on their own.
“I had heard good things about Concordia growing up,” Brooke said. “Even though I had family who are alumni from Concordia, I never felt pressured to attend Concordia. It was my decision on my own. Granted, my parents and grandpa were ecstatic that I chose their Alma mater, it was a decision I had made on my own.”
While her parents hadn’t pushed her one way or the other, Grace found guidance through someone else—head women’s basketball coach at St. Ben’s, Mike Durbin.
“Another factor was I had like a good working relationship with Mike and I went to the St. Ben’s basketball camp during the summer when I was in middle school,” Grace said. “He was my AAU coach for one year. I had had one-on-one private sessions with him before. I know him really well. How do I say no to him because he made me into the player I am today.”
While family members were bummed, they still supported her decision and cheered her on as she played the game they all love.
“It was solely her decision on where she wanted to go,” Brooke said. “Concordia was in her top three choices, but she ultimately ruled it out because ‘everyone from our high school goes to the Fargo-Moorhead area’ as she wanted to go somewhere different than others in her class. I would mention things about Concordia and how I wanted her to come, but I knew she had to figure things out for her- self. When she decided to go to St. Ben’s, I was bummed, but I wished her the best and sup- ported her decision.”
While Grace was at St. Ben’s for the coach and basketball, she found that it wasn’t enough.
“In like October, I didn’t like the social life and it just wasn’t the right fit for me. I just wasn’t about that and I didn’t like the two campuses” Grace said. “So I asked my parents, ‘can I transfer at [the end of the] semester?’ And they are like okay well you can’t play basketball. And I was like okay I’ll hang in there and see how this season goes.”
So, Grace went through the season and still wasn’t fitting with St. Ben’s.
“I mean I was starting as a freshman, I mean, that’s anybody’s dream,” Grace said. “And the fact that I still was not happy showed that it wasn’t the school for me. And if I were to not be in basketball at St. Ben’s I would have been miserable. But like here, let’s say I got hurt and couldn’t play anymore I still really like this school and the people and such.”
When looking to transfer, Concordia was her first choice.
When I told Rahman I wasn’t coming to Concordia she was like, well I hope every- thing works out at St. Ben’s, but if it doesn’t know our arms are always open and we would be happy to have you,” Grace said. “So when I knew I wanted to transfer it was automatically Concordia because of how she responded to my first decision.”
Not only were open arms a deciding factor for Grace, but conversations with Brooke helped as well.
“As an older sister, I did the best to just listen and give her advice when necessary,” Brooke said. “I definitely vocalized a bit more now that the opportunity for her to come to Concordia had become more likely and be- cause she was seeking advice on what to do. Another conversation we had was when we would mention all the fun things we could do together. It would be like the good old days in high school. It had been three years living in two different locations so I think the excitement of being together again added to her decision of transferring.”
While transferring can be hard, it’s as if Grace had started out at Concordia all along. “I love it here. The people are genuinely nice and they genuinely care about you. I just love the family atmosphere,” Grace said. “I feel like I fit in here. I was like really nervous about that, like okay what if I don’t like Concordia I gotta transfer again! What the heck. But I love it here.”
Now that Grace has made the transition and continued her love for the game of basketball, she couldn’t be more pleased with Concordia.
“I’m proud that I had the I don’t know if you want to say the guts, but have the courage to transfer, because it’s definitely not an easy decision,” Grace said. “It’s not easy, but I’m so happy I did it.”