KALKASKA — Taylor Birgy had already started sending deposits and figuring out her housing situation for her upcoming freshman year at Western Michigan.
However, that’s as close as Birgy will come to attending school next fall in Kalamazoo.
Birgy, a senior at Kalkaska, is turning down Western to take a basketball scholarship from Rochester College after signing a letter-of-intent with the Warriors.
“I’m really excited. I never thought I would have the opportunity to play college basketball,” said Birgy, a two-year starter and team captain this past season for the Blazers. “So once I received it — Rochester College has a really good nursing program and that’s what I’m going into — I felt like it was meant to be.”
Birgy was an all-Lake Michigan Conference pick as a senior and was all-conference honorable mention as a junior. She didn’t have any offers to continue her career, though, until the Warriors started pursuing her around the end of this season.
“I had won a scholarship to Western Michigan University and I was pretty dead set on that,” said Birgy. “Then, once I got the scholarship from Rochester and got the opportunity to play basketball, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”
Birgy is the 16th player to make it to the college level in Dave Dalton’s 19 years as a varsity head coach.
“She’s a great athlete with a great motor and an amazing defender,” said Dalton. “She brings a lot of energy and passion, and she’s a great leader.”
On the year Birgy averaged 8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 1.9 assists. But it was her defensive play that was her most valuable asset to the Blazers.
“It makes me feel really good (to get a scholarship) because I’ve never been the high scorer or anything,” said Birgy. “The best player on the other team, I’m always guarding (her). It’s just cool that I’m being recognized for stats that aren’t really in the stat book — my hustle plays, my love for the game and my passion. I’m really glad that earned me a spot.”