They were two of the greatest high school girls basketball players the state of Iowa has ever seen.
But even as successful as former Springville superstars Rylee Menster and Mikayla Nachazel were in leading the Orioles to unparalleled success winning three straight class 1A state championships, the adjustment to the Division II college game as freshmen with the Minnesota State University (MSU) women’s basketball team this winter has been a challenge.
But much like everything else the Springville pair have done in their careers, they’ve stepped up to meet it.
“For me the biggest transition has been the level of play,” said Nachazel, who has played in nine of the Mavericks’ 14 total games to this point of the season averaging 10.2-minutes per game.
“Everything is faster here, and while I like faster the games and practices are so much more intense. I’m getting used to it, but it’s been a big adjustment.”
Menster, who has played in all 14 games averaging 14.9-minutes per game, feels the same.
“I struggled at first figuring out how to get my feet going in the right direction,” said Menster, who is second on the MSU team with 17 steals.
“Everyone is so much faster and stronger here, and at first I really didn’t know how much I’d be able to play as a freshman. I’ve always taken pride in my defense and coach likes what I can bring to the team on that end of the court, just being a sparkplug. I can score too, but I think coach puts me in for my defense and I just go out there and work as hard as I can to help the team win.”
While the season hasn’t gone exactly as planned to this point on the court, as MSU sports a 5-9 overall record, off it both Menster and Nachazel have felt right at home.
“The favorite thing about my experience at Minnesota State to this point has been my teammates,” Nachazel said. “I love them and they have all been so welcoming.”
Menster echoed Nachazel’s thoughts.
“Off the court, we’re all so close,” Menster said. “I feel like I’ve known my teammates forever and we’ll probably remain friends forever. Everyone is so comfortable together it just makes for a great environment to be around.”
Menster and Nachazel will make a trip back to Iowa Feb. 22, as MSU travels to Upper Iowa for a 5:30 p.m. tip in Fayette.