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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Butte College women’s basketball has five players moving on, Meghan Weinrich goes D-I – Chico Enterprise-Record

BUTTE VALLEY — Much anticipation has been building around where members of the Butte College women’s basketball team will sign, after the Roadrunners made appearances in the California Community College Athletic Association Elite 8 in 2022 and the CCCAA final in 2023.

Wednesday five members committed to their respective four-year schools, led by the two-time Golden Valley Conference Player of the Year and 2023 NorCal Player of the Year Meghan Weinrich, who is headed to Division I Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Weinrich was joined Wednesday by teammates Cassidy King, a point guard who is headed D-II Minot State University in Minot, North Dakota; Sanaya Shrader, a center headed to D-II Barry University in Miami, Florida; forward Tessa Kinney, who is headed to NAIA Simpson in Redding; and guard Makenzee Moretto joining Kinney at Simpson.

“This is what we’ve all been working here at Butte and in high school,” Weinrich said. “Whether we thought we were going to go somewhere else but this step that we took is why we did it so we’re just trying to get to the next level and that’s what we’re doing here.”

Roadrunners head coach Tyler Newton praised this year’s class for the hard work they’ve put in, saying he’s very proud and that, “I think it can’t go unnoticed that every time anyone gets an opportunity to continue to play basketball at the next level and continue their education it’s a blessing.

“Not a lot of people get that opportunity and our girls come here and work very hard and they earned their opportunity.”

Weinrich averaged 20.1 points per game on 42.3 percent shooting, while averaging 11.4 rebounds per game, 4.8 assists per game, 3.5 steals per game and 1.1 blocks per game.

On offense she commanded and she drew a lot of defenders, opening up shots for teammates, and she guarded all five positions throughout her career at Butte College.

“Meghan, she’s the GOAT. She put in a lot of work here,” Newton said. “With the COVID year she’s been here three years and she sets the example and she sets the tone for everybody, and at the next level that’s what you’re going to be getting.”

With numerous D-I and D-II offers on the table, settling on what school fit best was the biggest decision. Weinrich’s sister went to school in Oklahoma and the goal was always to get there as well.

“The area first off, the coaching staff is super welcoming and super nice, then all the girls that they recruited this year are going to be pretty good this year I think,” Weinrich said on why she ultimately settled on Oral Roberts.

Weinrich said her time at Butte College meant everything to her.

“The coaches that I’ve had and all the teammates that I’ve had they’ve made Butte the experience that it is,” Weinrich said. “I’m most excited about trying something new. I’ve been here my entire life so I’m excited just going on a new adventure and seeing where life takes me.”

As for King, she became the Roadrunners’ point guard in 2022 after Chloe Mayer left for D-I Oklahoma State, and was immediately thrown into the fire.

In King’s time with the Roadrunners she helped stabilize the ball on offense and defense, and her assist-to-turnover ratio and command of the offense is something that caught the eye of Minot State coach Mike Brandt.

In 56 games Kings had a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio, averaged 4.6 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game, 5 points per game and averaged 4.1 rebounds per game despite being just 5-foot-6.

King said she’s excited for the adventure to the Midwest and excited for the increase in competition at the D-II level.

“I think that Tyler and my teammates and the coaching staff have just helped me become the best point guard I can be,” King said. “I think I’ve gotten a lot faster. I think that I’m a very good true point guard, and the coach is really excited about that.”

Newton, too, is excited to see his former point guard grow and see how she performs at the next level.

“She took on everything with a great attitude and worked hard every single day and I thought was one of the best true point guards in the state,” Newton said.

Shrader averaged 7.7 points per game on 56.8 percent shooting, while averaging 8.3 rebounds per game and 1.3 steals per game in 53 career games.

In the 2023 CCCAA playoffs, she helped provide offensive and defensive presence for a Roadrunners team filled with shooters.

Coming out of Corning High School, Shrader said she would’ve never imagined going across the country to Florida, but she’s ready. She said Newton and his staff have coached the team like D-I athletes, always reminding them they’re trying to prepare them for the next level, “and I think he did just that.”

In Shrader, Barry is getting a player who moves well for her size at 6-1, and is strong rebounding the ball.

“Sanaya with her length and rebounding, her activity, she’s a difference maker,” Newton said. “I think she’s just scratching the surface of what she’s capable of and I think she’s going to continue to get better and better.”

Kinney and Moretto were not starters for the Roadrunners, but clearly made enough of an impact as role players to catch the eye of Simpson coach Edgar Mendez.

Kinney, a Chico High alumnae, played in 56 games and averaged 2.9 points per game and 3.6 rebounds per game. Moretto averaged 1.9 points per game on 43.1 shooting and 1.3 rebounds per game in 37 games.

“Tess and Mac didn’t get a lot of minutes for us but would start on a lot of teams in the conference,” Newton said. “Their character, their grind, getting their teammates better is a credit to them and the coach at Simpson saw that and knew what he was going to be getting at their program and that’s why he wanted them.”

Kinney and Moretto will be seeing a lot of each other while sharing a bunk bed in Redding, and both are thankful for the opportunity to continue playing the game they love.

“It’s going to be nice already knowing someone and already having a connection and a friendship there already but I’m super excited to make more friendships and get to know new people,” Kinney said.

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