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Big Ten ahead for Welson

Rainey Welson led Hortonville with a game-high 43 points March 2 in a 82-72 sectional final loss to Neenah at Appleton East High School. The junior recently made a verbal commitment to play basketball at the University of Maryland. Greg Seubert Photo

Hortonville junior commits to Maryland

By Greg Seubert

Hortonville High School’s girls’ basketball program has a reputation for producing Division 1 players.

Rainey Welson is the latest in the program’s long line of college recruits, as the junior verbally committed to the University of Maryland in February.

After attracting the attention of several Division 1 programs, Welson eventually narrowed her choices to three schools.

“My top three were Maryland, Utah and Iowa,” she said. “(Maryland’s) coaching staff is really nice and I just bonded with them when I went on my visit. The campus itself is gorgeous. Education is big for me. I want to become a sports broadcaster and Maryland’s ranked for that.”

The Terrapins compete in the Big Ten Conference. Although it will be more than a year before Welson heads to College Park, she’s glad the recruiting process is over.

“It’s a big relief, honestly,” she said. “I felt pressure from it. The process is really fun, but knowing that’s where I’m going to be for four years of my life is a pretty good feeling.”

Other former Hortonville players now playing Division 1 basketball this season include Kamy Peppler at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; and Lyric Johnson and Macy McGlone at Eastern Illinois University.

Meanwhile, Hortonville senior Kallie Peppler will join her sister at UW-Milwaukee next season.

The Polar Bears are 71-12 in Welson’s three seasons as a varsity starter. She averaged 23.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists this season, including a game-high 43 points March 2 in a sectional semifinal loss to Neenah. The Polar Bears also won the Fox Valley Association championship this season with a 17-1 record.

Welson played two seasons under coach A.C. Clouthier after making the starting lineup as a freshman under former coach Celeste Ratka.

“Stepping out on the court and trusting your teammates that they’re going to make plays is a really good feeling,” Welson said. “We’ve obviously showcased that at Hortonville. The FVA is such a good conference. Playing against consistently good players is a good thing.”

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