Sports Spotlight: Grace Benz

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STEELE, N.D. - The Benz family has made a big impact on the girls basketball program at Kidder County High School. A quick look at the team's all-time records will show you that.

This week's Sports Spotlight profiles Grace Benz, a Wolves senior who's hoping to lead her team all the way to the State-"B".

Grace has scored over 1,000 points and ranks among the top for rebounds and steals in Kidder County High School history. But there is another Benz enshrined on the walls of Kidder County, Grace's sister, Eli, was Ms. Basketball and a Class B state champion back in 2010. Grace aspired to be just like Eli every step of the way.

"I was pretty young, but I just remember being on the side and just like watching her thinking, 'this is crazy.' She's such a big role model to me and I want to be just like her and it was fun watching her when I was little. She's my role model, she always will be, I've always looked up to her. She's like who I wanted to be as a basketball player," said Grace.

Dan Welder, Kidder County head coach, coached both Eli and Grace. He sees the similarities and he could not be more impressed with how Grace has handled her role as team captain.

"She leads by example and she wants what's best for the team and that's what's nice about her. She's selfless, she'll do anything for anybody, which is nice and the girls kind of respect that about her," said Welder.

Grace's father, Miles Benz, say's he has always taught his children that its the attention to detail and work ethic that would lead to success on and off the court. Miles has always seen that work ethic and drive in his daughter.

"She always been pretty driven. She was very little when she wore out her first little pink basketball that the previous coach gave her, but I know a lot of times I'll be driving through the yard and I'll look over, you know, and she'll be if she's done mowing the lawn; she'll be shooting hoops."

Grace has committed to play basketball at the University of Jamestown. Greg Ulland says he'll never forget the day Benz committed to his program.

"We had a bad practice, she had called and said, 'hey you know I want to be a Jimmie,' and it was hey, this is perfect, perfect way to end a terrible day. Watching her here I just get goosebumps thinking OK, these are the things we can do with her," said Ulland, University of Jamestown head coach.

Grace will major in Biology, just like her big sister Eli.

Grace and the Wolves are the number-2 seed in District-6. Kidder County earned a first-round bye and they play on Friday.