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Jaguars’ Diegnau verbally commits to play hoops at Augustana

HEADED TO AUGIE — Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther post player Katelyn Diegnau (4), shown blocking a shot by a Nicollet/ Loyola opponent during basketball action last season in Granada, made a verbal commitment July 11 to play basketball for Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, during the 2022-23 campaign. (Photo by Greg Abel)

GRANADA — First impressions really do count.

Katelyn Diegnau made one official visit to Augustana University earlier this summer, and the Granada-Huntley-East Chain senior-to-be liked the Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based campus so much, she added it to her list.

“Originally, Augustana actually was not on my radar for colleges, but I toured it once and fell in love with the town of Sioux Falls,” said the GHEC/Truman/Martin Luther Jaguars’ hard-working post player. “After that initial visit, (Augustana) coach (Dave) Krauth reached out to me with a phone call about playing basketball there.

“I liked his ‘fatherly’ personality and the assistant coaches (Katie Bourk and Alex Feeney Nissen) when I met them, in addition to being comfortable with the campus.

“I figure if you pick a college, you want it to feel like a second home.”

Krauth made a scholarship offer to Diegnau shortly afterward in June, and the 6-foot-1 Minnesota Rise AAU Wolfe ’22 hoopster weighed her other options carefully before making an official verbal commitment on July 11 to play for the Vikings’ women’s basketball team during the 2022-23 season.

“I love basketball, but I wasn’t going to pick a school just for sports,” said Diegnau, who holds an impressive 3.81 GPA in the high school classroom. “I met the team a week later and then made my formal decision.

“Augustana is a highly-respected school academically, so I figured whatever program I chose, I’d be in good shape.”

For now, the 2021 Fairmont Sentinel All-Area elite basketball selection will continue to play three to five games with her Minnesota Rise teammates during the rest of the summer’s two- and three-day AAU tournaments.

The 2021 first-team all-Valley Conference basketball choice then will make the transition to a different hardwood court starting with the Minnesota State High School League’s official first day of fall sports practice on Monday, Aug. 16, as a member of the Jaguars’ volleyball program.

“When people ask me if I will be a senior when high school starts this fall, I think, ‘Where did the time go?'” Diegnau said with a laugh. “Sometimes it (graduation in the upcoming spring) seems a long time from now and then sometimes it doesn’t.”

After her final prep volleyball campaign, Diegnau will set her sights on helping the Jaguars’ girls basketball team improve on its 10-7 overall record from last season’s covid-condensed season.

Diegnau averaged 9.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per outing during her junior basketball campaign to go with 15 assists. The Jaguar post player also displayed her defensive prowess by pocketing 26 steals and rejecting 15 opposing shots from the floor.

Diegnau also connected on 65 of 167 field goals for 39 percent in 2021.

While an elementary school-aged Diegnau knew exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up, narrowing down a college major has proven to be a more difficult task for the senior-to-be.

“When I was little, I had a clear path — I wanted to be an Air Force engineer and fix planes,” Diegnau said with a grin. “A lot of my family members have served in the military, including both of my grandfathers, and I am mechanically-inclined, so my career choice seemed clear-cut back then.

“Unfortunately, for now, I’m undecided on what I want to major in. I’m interested in law, education, agronomy, communications, sports medicine and engineering.”

While she has her entire senior year of high school to narrow her future academic scope, Diegnau has the difficult decision of where she’s going nearly signed, sealed and delivered.

“I made my verbal commitment to Augustana and that’s all I can do at this point of the year due to NCAA rules,” said Diegnau. “Now I have to wait until the signing day in November to make it all official.

“It’s definitely a weight lifted off of my back, and I don’t have the pressure of making that decision anymore. My verbal commitment definitely gives me peace of mind.”

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