Oregon seniors Kaitlyn Schrimpf and Izzie Peterson grew up together playing youth basketball in their hometown, then hit the AAU circuit with Wisconsin Academy, and are now crucial to the Panthers’ success on the court this winter.
The two also signed National Letters of Intent to continue their basketball careers at the collegiate level Wednesday, Jan. 8, at Oregon High School.
Schrimpf will play at NCAA Division II Winona State University, and Peterson is headed to NAIA Clarke University. Both players shared relief in making their college choices ahead of the stretch run of the Panthers’ season.
“It feels good knowing I have a plan,” Peterson said. “Playing at the next level is always something I’ve dreamed about.”
Schrimpf’s journey to Winona, Minnesota started when she attended a basketball camp on campus in August. She went for a campus visit at the end of September, and became the third member of the Warriors’ 2020-21 recruiting class when she verbally committed in October.
“I fell in love with the beauty of the campus,” she said. “In that moment, I could definitely envision myself going there. The players and coaches also made me feel like part of the team from the beginning, and that played a huge role in my decision.”
Schrimpf also had an offer to play at NAIA Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. She is planning to major in movement science or kinesiology and minor in psychology.
“When I looked at schools, I tried to think as though I wasn’t going to play basketball there,” she said. “Academics were the biggest part of my decision.”
Schrimpf, a 5-foot-9 wing player, is averaging 10.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.4 steals per game this season. She was named first-team all-conference last season after averaging 10.8 points, 2.6 rebounds 2.7 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
Schrimpf was also named honorable mention all-conference in basketball as a sophomore, and in soccer as a junior.
Located in Winona, Minnesota, Winona State competes in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The Warriors have enjoyed five straight winning seasons.
Peterson narrowed her choices to Clarke, Cardinal Stritch and Coe College, but verbally committed to the Pride last month after separate visits in September, October and November. She plans to major in health science and psychology with the hopes of earning a degree in physical therapy.
“As soon as I stepped on campus and met the girls, I felt an immediate connection with them,” she said. “They’re all welcoming and outgoing, and I thought I’d fit in well.”
The 5-foot-6 point guard is averaging 7.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game this season. She averaged 6.6 points, 2.7 rebounds 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game last season.
Clarke, located in Dubuque, Iowa competes in the Heart of America Athletic Conference. The Pride have also had five consecutive winning seasons.