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Athlete of the Week: Duluth Marshall’s Grace Kirk

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DULUTH, MN- In her final season at Duluth Marshall, Grace Kirk is leaving it all out on the floor.

Kirk and company are off to a perfect 5-0 start. Which she says has been a long time coming.

"We have an identity now as a team. I think a lot of teams know we like to score, we like to run fast and so it's nice. Points aren't everything for us, they just kind of happen because we focus on defense, that's a new theme for us. We're making teams throw the ball away and we're capitalizing on it," said Kirk.

C.J. Osuchukwu, head coach of the Hilltoppers says with Kirk as a senior leader, it's helped elevate the play of her teammates.

"I know her first goal is to get other people involved, right now she leads the state in assists. She tries to get all the girls involved, get them going early. I think people look at her numbers and think she's a ball hot and things like that but she's nowhere near that. She only shoots 12-13 times a game and averages about 25-26. That's super-efficient if you ask me," said Osuchukwu.

Kirk's play on the hardwood has already paid off as she will attend Brown University next year. But basketball wasn't the only reason that she committed to the school.

"Brown is really good for me as far as academics go. That's my number one priority, I'm not all basketball. I think they have a really good mixture up there between athletics and academics. I can be exactly who I want to be. Brown is a really young program, they're starting over kind of. And so I really wanted to be a part of something that was new," said Kirk.

With Brown in the future, Kirk still has business to take care of here and that includes a visit to a place Marshall hasn't been in twenty years.

"Marshall hasn't been to a state tournament in twenty years. We're hoping we can break that this year. That's all she really wants, that's all the team really wants. We don't care about numbers. We don't care about stats. We all as a whole want to get to that state tourney," said Osuchukwu.

State champion aspirations aside, Kirk hopes to be remembered as someone who leads by example.

"I want girls to say oh year I remember when I played Grace. I want to expose a weakness in their game they may not have known they had. And just let everyone know that they can be like me too. All it takes is work," said Kirk.

Duluth Marshall will host Cherry on Thursday.

Neil Vierzba

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