By Amy Rutledge
Kori Wiedt of North Olmsted and Rosa LaMattina of Westlake were both named Ohio Athletic Conference Player of the Year for the University of Mount Union’s women’s basketball team. This is the first honor for Mount Union since 2000.
“It’s an honor to know that people see how hard you are working, and for two people to come from the same area of town is a great thing,” LaMattina said.
“I’m speechless, because our team is so good,” Weidt stated. “Our coach told us that having co-player of the year is something that has never been done. We complement each other very well.”
LaMattina and Wiedt are no strangers. They met in their sophomore year, playing against each other in high school, for Westlake and North Olmsted, respectively, and also played on the same traveling team in the offseason.
“It’s really funny that we did play against each other and learned each other’s flaws first,” Wiedt said. “We were best friends in high school and when she (LaMattina) came here (Mount Union), everything worked perfect. She was able to push me and we played really well together. It was very meaningful to being two of the best guards in the conference.”
LaMattina was also selected as OAC First Team this year. In 2010 and 2011 she was Second Team OAC. During her freshman year she was recognized as OAC Freshman of the Year. She leads the Purple Raiders with 15.2 points per game, placing her fifth overall in the conference. She leads the conference in steals with 3.4 per game and places third with assists, having four per game. In addition, she is majoring in media computing and has also been named to the dean’s list. She was also recently named All-American.
LaMattina credits her basketball success to many people, including her parents.
“My two high school coaches have done everything for me to get me to where I am now,” she said. “The older teammates, when I came in as a freshman, really helped me along throughout the year, changing the way I played, and my emotions. They helped me not only get stronger physically, but mentally as well. My coaches there this year are doing everything they can do get me to the next level.”
Wiedt was named All-OAC First Team for the second year in a row. She received All-OAC honorable mention in 2009 and 2010. She was also an All-OAC selection and All-Great Lakes Region a year ago. Recently she was named All-American honorable mention. Wiedt ranks sixth in the conference with 14.6 points per game and is third in the nation with 3-point shots, with an average of .484. She is majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry. She hopes to pursue a career in forensic analysis.
John Sizer, her seventh-grade coach, has served as a mentor for Wiedt since junior high.
“He’s always been there for me through high school,” she said. “He kept me up there mentally and encouraging. He’s a great guy.”
Both Wiedt and LaMattina join the elite club of players who have scored over 1,000 points. Wiedt is fifth with 1,233 points, while LaMattina is ninth with 1,119 points.
“I was never near 1,000 (points) in high school, so I never thought I would be close to it in college either,” LaMattina said. “When Kori got it, I realized I was pretty close, and ended up getting it this year, too.”
“It wasn’t something that I really thought about just because I was worried more about winning and the team and being able to just put more than points into the game,” she added. “It’s a great thing, but to me it was a small accolade of what was really supposed to be achieved.”
The Purple Raiders advanced to the Sweet 16 this year where they lost to Illinois Wesleyan by one point at the buzzer. Returning to the Sweet 16 and advancing to the next level is one goal LaMattina has for her senior year.
“I want be better than we were this year and continue to advance and go further than we did this year,” she said.
With this being her senior year, college athletics has ended for Wiedt. Despite the devastating loss to end the season, Wiedt is thankful for her experiences and memories from playing college basketball.
“I’m going to take the friendships with me. Being on the court and off the court with the team we were so close,” she said. “Thinking back to all the years, it was a great experience. A lot of people don’t get the chance to play on a winning program, so I’m very appreciative of that.”