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PREP GIRLS HOOPS

Once just a thought, playing DI basketball soon to be real for Colorado-bound Ruthie Loomis-Goltl

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Hastings St. Cecilia vs. Bridgeport, 3.12

Bridgeport's Ruthie Loomis-Goltl (left) looks to score while guarded by Hastings St. Cecilia's Ryann Sabatka during the Class C-2 girls state championship game on March 12 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

The first thought of playing Division I basketball for Ruthie Loomis-Goltl came in the fifth grade, but she admits, it wasn't much of a thought.

Someone told her at the time that she had the talent to someday play college basketball at the highest level.

"I just remember thinking, 'OK, if you say so,'" Loomis-Goltl recalls.

Loomis-Goltl started to realize her talent and grew into one of the state's top post players. And when she earned her first Division I offer last year, playing DI hoops was no longer a thought. It was an intention.

It was sealed last week when the 6-foot-3 Bridgeport junior announced her commitment to Colorado.

"Seeing it actually happen is crazy," Loomis-Goltl said. "You hear about imposter syndrome, like, 'Oh, I'm tricking these people. I'm not really good enough for this.' But I think seeing it actually happen for me and seeing the hours that I've put into it actually pay off is incredible.

"I can't even put it into words."

Loomis-Goltl was one of the most sought-after in-state targets in the 2023 recruiting cycle. Her combination of skill, size and athleticism drew offers from Omaha, Oklahoma State, Kansas City, Utah State, Colorado State, Wichita State and Kansas State.

Colorado was interested, too, and when the Buffaloes extended a scholarship offer nearly two weeks ago — when Loomis-Goltl was on a visit to the school — she didn't need a lot of time to wrap up her recruiting.

Proximity to home — Boulder is three hours away — was important, Loomis-Goltl said. But Colorado offered other things, too.

"I've met a lot of really good coaches, a lot of really awesome people, but the coaches at Colorado, I just felt very comfortable immediately," she said. "Visiting, I just felt these people are going to help me grow, definitely as a basketball player, which is important … but also just feeling they're going to mentor me and help me become a better person."

Colorado, coached by JR Payne, reached the NCAA Tournament this past season and won 22 games.

The Buffaloes will be getting a second-team Super-Stater who averaged 20 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per contest while helping lead Bridgeport to a runner-up finish in Class C-2. She shot 66% from the field.

Loomis-Goltl already is the school's all-time leader in points (1,545) and blocks (325) with her senior season still to go.

The original plan was to commit before Christmas, but that changed and Loomis-Goltl's patience paid off when an offer from the nearby Buffaloes came.

"I told my dad that sometimes I feel like I was rushing it, and he was like, 'But if you know, you know,'" Loomis-Goltl said. "There wasn't a reason to wait any longer because I was confident in my decision."

Loomis-Goltl is a three-sport standout at Bridgeport, right now focusing her efforts on helping the Bulldogs' track and field team. Then she'll turn her focus back to basketball. She doesn't plan to play club ball this summer, instead focusing on skill training.

Her younger sister Olivia, a 6-foot point guard, also is receiving Division I interest and offers. Colorado has expressed some interest in the sophomore who was a third-team Super-Stater.

Though the recruiting process can be stressful, Loomis-Goltl said she is happy to have her sister to lean on.

"We're both dealing with the pressure of, 'OK we play in the state championship game tomorrow,' and at the same time it's like, 'OK who is coming to our games,'" she said. "That's a stressful thing because you're worrying about who is in the stands, but you know you shouldn't be worrying about that.

"So it's been really cool to have somebody who in my house who knows how stressful it is and knows what it's like to be worrying about those things. She's like my confidant, which has been cool."

Reach Clark Grell at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter at @LJSSportsGrell.

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