Lady Whalers' star signs with defending NWAC championship
When Rose Mongoyak injured her knee prior to the start of the 2017 basketball season, the Barrow High School standout knew she faced a long, hard road back. To her credit, she made it back and helped guide the Lady Whalers to their 12th straight appearance in the Class 3A state playoffs in March.
Her hard work paid huge dividends earlier this week when the 6-foot forward agreed to a deal to play collegiately at Spokane Falls Community College.
"I am very excited and kind of nervous," said Mongoyak, who teamed with Alaina Wolgemuth to help Barrow win the 2016 state championship.
A Class 3A Player of the Year selection, Mongoyak turned in a gutsy effort as a senior. Despite working her way back, she averaged better than 10 points and 10 rebounds this season for the Lady Whalers, who spent much of the season ranked No. 1. As a team, the BHS girls finished third at the 3A state tournament.
Although Mongoyak verbally committed to SFCC last week, she said she wouldn't sign her official letter of intent with the Northwest Athletic Association champion until all of her teammates could be present. Several members of the Lady Whalers' basketball team were attending a band trip on Monday. But Mongoyak said she expected to officially sign the paperwork on Wednesday.
Mongoyak said her decision to attend SFCC came down to the exposure playing for a highly-touted squad like SFCC could have on her future career. Success at SFCC, she hopes, will lead to better offers down the road.
"I believe I have a good opportunity with a few 4-year schools if I show out at SFCC," she said.
At Spokane Falls, Mongoyak will be joining a Bigfoot squad that is coming off a sensational 27-4 campaign. SFCC defeated Walla Walla Community College in the championship game of the NWAC tournament in March.
Prior to committing to the Bigfoot, Mongoyak took time to thank the people who helped her develop into a college prospect, including her parents and former Barrow head coach Roland Hepa.
"Thank you to my mom for making me join Little Dribblers and my dad, who supported me all the way, and to Jerry Lowery for coaching me from fifth to ninth grade and bringing me on all those trips; and to Rick Henderson for the summer trip, and Roland Hep?for coaching me."
She also credited Bethel coach Doug Boyer for selecting her to join the Alaska Ice summer team, and current BHS coach Chad Bunselmeier.
"I am so thankful for everyone who supported and pushed me to be who I am," she said.