Leesburg, Va. — Tuscarora High School senior Kennedy Middleton has made a verbal commitment to continue her basketball career with the Division II Millersville University Marauders starting in the 2018-2019 school year.
Placing a high value on team bonding and comradery, Middleton made her college decision based on which program felt like a family rather than which was the “better” team.
During his recruiting visit with Millersville head coach Mary Fleig and assistant coach Kristin Kunzman, the Marauders team and coaching staff made her feel welcome from the start. Middleton loved going to a Millersville team camp with Tuscarora a few years ago, so when she heard how important team outings and activities are to Fleig, the deal was sealed for her.
“It feels good to be wanted,” Middleton said. “And that’s how I felt during the recruiting process and when I committed, that feeling is still there.”
Stationed in Millersville, Pennsylvania, the Marauders placed second in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference for the 2017-2018 season, bettering their quarterfinal finish in last year’s tournament. With her talent for quick thinking, Middleton feels that she will help Millersville to further improve team performance next season.
“I will bring my IQ, athleticism and ability to play and transition at a high level,” the future Marauder said. “The team plays how I like to play: fast and hard!”
Having contributed to three straight conference titles and three state tournament appearances for the Huskies, the 5-foot-9 small forward certainly has the potential to succeed with the Marauders.
Middleton was sure to leave her mark in Leesburg before setting off for Millersville, though, becoming Tuscarora’s all-time leading scorer on January 5 in a win over Potomac District foe Broad Run. In addition to her scoring efforts, Middleton was twice named All-LoCo first team and earned numerous all-district, all-region and all-state honors.
Even after nearly a decade of shooting hoops, Middleton’s love for the game continues to grow.
“I play basketball because it makes me happy,” Middleton explained. “It’s a game that requires just as much thinking as chess, and it’s not as easy to understand as a lot of people think it is. You have to be persistent, hardworking, and willing to learn to play the game of basketball.”
A San Diego native, Middleton did not get into her sport until she moved to Leesburg, where she joined her local rec league team.
“Karen Gaither gets the credit for getting me started in basketball,” Middleton said. “I played CLBL for two years with her before I made my first all-star team. We were champions.”
Middleton played for the D1SA Lady Spartans under head coach Eric Williams from seventh grade until her sophomore year of high school.
“He created the dog in me,” Middleton said. “This man is my rock. He’s as tough on you as it comes, but it paid off because now no one can shake me mentally.”
Middleton ultimately thanks her father for helping her to get where she is today.
“Without [my dad], none of this would have been possible,” Middleton said. “We have traveled everywhere together trying to get the exposure I needed. Even when we couldn’t afford it, he always made it happen some way. I’m sure I’ll hear him in the stands next year.”