As the spring semester starts at Montclair State University, students can be seen going to their classes, with the goals of pursuing their passion in an intended career or field.
However, for Red Hawks senior Rachael Krauss, her afternoons and evenings are spent on the basketball court, draining key shots at crucial points of the game, especially with her three-point field-goal percentage.
Krauss, a tall and blonde-haired senior with a smile on her face, took time following a team practice to explain how thankful she is for basketball while on campus.
“It’s sad to think it’s almost over – it’s my senior year and we only have a certain amount of games left, but it’s fun, the whole process is fun,” Krauss said. “I’m just trying to take it day-by-day, game-by-game and enjoy every second of it.”
Krauss, a senior and Sports Events, Tours and Marketing major, is one of the main leaders of the team. The great relationship she has with her teammates is obvious, standing out to them as a leader to look up to on game days.
She began playing basketball at 8-years-old on a recreation team and later played during middle school, on a travel team and an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team. Her years playing in middle school were when Krauss realized her true passion for basketball. While playing on three different teams, she became heavily involved and loved it.
Then, after her playing years in high school came to a close, she decided to take it to college with her.
“I just love playing. Being with the team every day is great and we have a lot of goals set this year,” Krauss said. “We want to accomplish as many of those goals as we can and want to have fun doing so.”
Krauss recalls her favorite memory on the women’s basketball team as going to Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2015, for the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Tournament Final Four. She explained just how great the experience was for her and her teammates. For her, the atmosphere was bigger and much different than a normal basketball game, highlighting the team’s involvement with organizations like the Special Olympics during their time there.
She credits her parents and coaches as her biggest supporters, adding that Head Coach Karin Harvey and the assistant coaches all motivate the players on a daily basis. Krauss named the Red Hawks coaching staff and the best coaches she’s ever had.
Her style of leadership, she feels, is leading by example on the court and it has stood out to players who look up to her as a role model.
“[Krauss is] real fun to play with. It’s easy to play with someone who works as hard as she does,” junior Katie Sire said. “She’s been a great role model for me since I came in as a freshman. She’s someone I can look up to. I’m lucky I’ve had the years to play with her.”
This year, she currently has scored 195 points in 642 minutes of playing time, along with a .338 three-point basket average (52-for-154). In addition, she’s averaged 8.9 points per game and has a .335 field-goal basket percentage (63-for-188).
“[Krauss is] really competitive and she’s awesome to play with,” senior Zoe Curtis said. “She’s a role model for all the underclassmen. We play together, this is our fourth year and I’ve known her since high school. She’s a great person and a great leader.”
Krauss stressed how important it is to work hard, especially for high school players interested in playing in college. To her, this includes working out in the preseason, working on weaknesses and dedicating a lot of time to fix mistakes. “It’s an all-week, all-month, all-year sport,” the senior said.
She hopes to play the best basketball she can in her last year on the team and put all the skills she learned to use as the season continues.
“[Krauss has] been an incredible member of our women’s basketball team. She’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached in my entire career,” Coach Harvey said.
“She’s passionate, driven and a huge competitor. You see that smile and might think she’s a super nice person, but she’s really competitive. She hasn’t taken a day or a drill off and she just continues to become better and better. Now, she’s one of the best players on the team.”