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By David Sharp
Knox County softball and basketball standout Riley Strange announced her college choice in a unique way. She bundled her college preference and presented it to her Mother, Knox County alumni student/athlete Staci (Gudehus) Rimer on Christmas.
Riley Strange announced on social media that she will attend Quincy University and play women’s basketball. The Hawks are an NCAA Division II institution. They play in the Great Lakes Valley Conference along with Truman State University.
The Knox County R-I school district held a signing ceremony at the high school on Thursday, January 14, 2021. The event was documented by reporters from three area media outlets, including the Edina Sentinel.
“A lot of it is sheer joy to see her get this opportunity,” Knox County head girls basketball coach James Dent said. “She is a special kid that I feel like there is a whole lot more for us to see.”
“For her blossoming not only as a player but as a student,” James Dent said. “I feel very fortunate to come in the first time in a head coaching job. To come in here and have a kid like that.”
“It’s been a lot of fun to watch her. To get to know her better too,” Coach Dent said. “This is the first year I have had her in class. She is special in ways not just about basketball. That is important too. I am going to miss her a lot next year.”
Riley Strange talked about her college choice. “I really didn’t get in touch with Quincy University super early on,” Riley Strange said. “It wasn’t until my senior year that I talked to them.”
“I talked to (Associate Head Coach) Kelly Kielsmeier,” Strange said. “And then I met (Head Women’s Basketball) Coach Jeni Garber. “I scheduled a visit. One of the reasons I chose Quincy is I have never been able to walk into a room and feel a connection between that many girls.”
“I feel like I can work with all these girls really well,” Riley Strange said. “I am so excited to work with Coach Keilsmeier. He is a true post coach. I have never got to work with anybody like that. Words cannot say how excited I am to be part of that.”
“I kind of want to be in a profession where I can help people,” Riley Strange said when asked what she planned to study at Quincy University. “It changes every week.” Strange told the Edina Sentinel that she considered John Wood Community College at Quincy.
“Ultimately it came down to the connection with the girls I got at QU. I have enormous respect for Coach (Norman) Rodriguez. I think he is a great coach and a really wonderful person,” Riley Strange said. “It was hard to choose between them. He has done a lot of things for the game.”
“He always had respect for me. Ultimately, I think that QU was the right choice for me.”
Riley Strange talked about her announcement. “My Mom is probably my best friend,” Riley said about Staci Rimer. “She has supported me through everything. Everybody else in my family has done that.”
“My Mom is just super excited about this. She has talked about it since March,” Strange said. “She was so excited about QU. We ultimately made the decision together. I made the decision to play.”
“Nothing I have done would be possible without the help of other people. Life wise. Sports wise, I couldn’t do what I do without the help of friends and family.”
“We are all very excited and very proud of her,” Staci Rimer said. “We had went on a college visit. She loved QU. She said they gave her until Christmas to decide. She put me off, and then she surprised me with my Christmas present. On Christmas Morning she announced that she had made the commitment verbally.”
“That’s what she was planning to do this fall,” Staci Rimer said. “I am excited. Part of me is sad that’s the end of one chapter. She is excited. It will be close. We can all follow her and make it to games.”
“We can be with her the next four years as she goes through this process. I’m very happy for her.”