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Fort Frye’s Karlee Ross commits to Ohio Wesleyan hoops

Photo courtesy of Sabrina Adkins Fort Frye’s Karlee Ross committed Wednesday to continuing her basketball career at Ohio Wesleyan University.

BEVERLY — Fort Frye’s Karlee Ross had a lot of success while being part of the Cadet program of head basketball coach Dan Liedtke.

Now, she’ll look to continue excelling at the next level for the Battling Bishops of Ohio Wesleyan University, a Division III program that competes in the North Coast Athletic Conference.

Ross, who averaged 7.4 points, 1.5 steals, shot 70% from the foul line and led FFHS in shooting 55% from the field, also happens to carry a 4.0 GPA and will be a co-valedictorian.

“She had that ACL tear going into her junior year, so she missed a little over half the season,” said coach Liedtke. “She had to struggle through that. She worked so hard to get back for her senior year. She just had a really good senior year.

“Her work ethic, over the top. She just really works hard, offseason, onseason. If she doesn’t have a ball in her hand she’s lifting. She is just an outstanding athlete and outstanding person. She’s just a great person to be around and a true competitor.”

The Cadet has been playing AAU basketball since the fifth grade with the 740 Thunder and said she’s going to room with Belpre’s Curstin Giffin.

“I think they will have me playing like a two or three,” admitted Ross of the likely plans of Battling Bishops head coach Stacey Lobdell.

“In high school, I had to play more of a forward position just because we lacked size, but I can play guard, too, because I’m versatile.”

Coach Liedtke completely agrees and thinks OWU is getting a good one.

“She’s got the ability and the ball handling she can go outside, but her strength is basically her strength,” he said. “She’s a strong girl and can jump very well. Very aggressive on rebounds. When she’s on the floor she just gives you everything she’s got.

“There’s no relaxing in her. I think that’s the thing they were most impressed with her. You watch her play you just see that energy and aggressiveness. You know that’s going to help your program out.”

Along with earning four letters in basketball, Ross also picked up three in volleyball as she couldn’t play her junior season.

Ross, who plans to major in health and human kinetics with an eye on becoming a physician assistant or a physical therapist, also visited John Carroll, Marietta and Mount Union.

“I really liked them too,” added Ross, who noted “I really connected with coach Lobdell. I just respected the vision she had for the program.”

The Cadet said her top memory was in 2020 when they defeated Portsmouth Notre Dame to reach the Final Four but were not allowed to compete due to state COVID-19 restrictions.

“We made history that day and there was no feeling like it,” said Ross, who helped the Cadets to the Sweet 16 this season.

“It’s (upcoming graduation) bittersweet just because I’ve loved it at Fort Frye so much, but I’m also really excited for the next chapter.”

Ross said she was “a little bit worried” about the academic side of college, but “I’ve enrolled in a lot of the toughest courses we have here, and I was able to pass them and do pretty well in them, so I think I’m well prepared.

“I want to thank my parents and coach Liedtke and my AAU coach (Beth Giffin) for just making me into the player that I am and teaching me everything that I know.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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