Reinhart adjusting to college ball; Schugel on the mend

NEW ULM — Meleah Reinhart’s first season of college basketball at Southwest State University in Marshall has been “fun but tough” she said.

“I am really enjoying it,” added Reinhart, a freshman at SSU from New Ulm High School. “It is different. I knew that it was going to be tough — practices have been tough and the workouts are harder than high school. I was expecting that along with the physicality of the game was a little more than I was expecting.”

Reinhart prepared for college basketball with a lot of offseason workouts this past summer, which included weight room training.

“In the preseason here, we did weight lifting and conditioning,” Reinhart said. “That prepared us a lot because the game at the college level is a lot faster. The girls are bigger and more talented than the girls in high school.”

She said that preparing for that first season “is something that you have to get used to because you do not know what to expect. You do not expect it to be that different. But you get there — play your first game and get used to the players.”

She said that the speed of the game and a new coach were two things that were harder to adapt to in her initial season.

“One was the speed and pace of the game,” Reinhart said. “It is faster. The second was having a different coach and that was a kind of a big deal. I was coached by my dad (Dan) all of my life and having a new coach during games was different.

“But (Tom Webb) is similar to my dad and that has been easy to get used to,” Reinhart said. “And there is the stress of the game in wanting to play well, so you can continue to be on the floor for the team.”

As a freshman going through that transition, she has grown. She scored 16 points against University of Sioux Falls before netting 14 points against Winona State last Saturday.

Reinhart is one of seven freshmen on the Mustangs’ squad this season as they have gone 2-6 so far this season.

“And we have only four seniors, three sophomores and one junior,” she said. “Everybody gets along. There are no cliques.”

Reinhart has seen playing time at both a one and two guard this season.

“I like switching it up,” Reinhart said. “I get the ball in my hands more at the one guard and that helps calm me down and slow me down, so I do not have to rush everything. And when I am the two guard, I can just play. It helps me if I start at the one guard but is fun to play different positions. I prefer the two because Joey (Batt, New Ulm High School junior) usually did most of the ball handling in high school.”

Asked what she thought of Batt who just cracked the 1,000 career point mark, Reinhart said that she missed playing with her.

“[Joey] is really talented and I definitely miss playing with her. So it would be awesome if she would come here to play, so I could play with her again.”


Meanwhile, New Ulm’s Brook Schugel, a sophomore on the University of Minnesota-Duluth hockey team, is rehabbing following ACL surgery on her right knee.

“I hurt my knee at the end of August when I was doing sprints and I tore my meniscus,” she said. “I did not think anything was wrong with it — I thought it was a bruise — and three weeks later, I was testing my vertical jump for a pre-season fitness test. When I jumped and landed, my knee just collapsed. I tore my ACL and also fractured my joint line.”

Schugel had surgery on her knee on September 15th in Duluth and started rehab three days later.

Schugel said that she could not say publicly whether or not she has received a medical redshirt.

“But I sure miss hockey and practicing with my team,” Schugel said. “I hope to be back jogging a little after Christmas break. It is so hard watching my team go on the ice. But if everything keeps going along as well as it has, we are hoping that I can be back on the ice in five or six months.”


The New Ulm Steel have a road game Dec. 15 at Willmar before playing in the NA3HL Showcase next week in Blaine. The Steel will play the Yellowstone Quake on Dec. 17 on Rink One. The Steel then meet the St. Louis Jr Blues on Dec. 18 on Rink Two. They then close out the Showcase on Dec. 19 when they meet the Metro Jets (Fraser, Michigan) on Rink Two. The Steel are then back home on Dec. 29 when they host Breezy Point. All showcase games are at the Schwan’s Super Rink in Blaine.