Greene County News
FAIRBORN — Transferring schools as a college athlete can often take time to adjust to. Junior transfer guard Chelsea Welch has already shown glimmers of her ability and confidence on the court in her short-lived Raider career.
The passion for basketball has been shared by several of Welch’s family members. Her father played it at a young age and her uncle reached the college level with Wright State. Additionally, her sister played for Division II Fairmont State and West Virginia Wesleyan.
“Seeing my older sister doing great things for her program, my uncle and dad being athletic and watching basketball all the time really influenced me to want to play and get better,” Welch said.
Welch played basketball for Fairmont and helped lead the Firebirds to a state title in 2014 by averaging 13.8 points as a senior.
“It was a time where I noted that I could actually lead a team to something great,” Welch recalled.
When it was time to choose a university to play for Welch elected to attend Pittsburgh. There she was a guard on a team that faced off against ACC competition, which she says helped mold her into the player she is today.
“I wasn’t as confident being with a lot of upperclassmen so I was more of a role player,” Welch said. “Having that experience playing competitive and intense teams and being more comfortable on the court helped me to be a more confident player here.”
After two seasons with Pittsburgh, Welch decided to transfer and WSU quickly became a top candidate when the university was notified of her interest in joining the team.
“Within a couple of days they reached out to me, showed their interest and that they really needed me for their program,” Welch said.
Welch sat out last season after transferring, and she had a hunger to get back on the court. She has already shown some early flashes of her ability to dish out assists drive to the basket, and make an impact on the boards rebounding.
After an exhibition game against Urbana and a season opening victory over Tennessee Tech last Friday Welch had a total of 46 points, eight assists and 13 rebounds.
“I try to be an aggressive point guard and focus on getting my teammates involved,” Welch said. “I know if I can get in the paint as much as possible that will allow my teammates to open up.”
This season is a fresh start for Welch on the court as it is also the first season as head coach for Katrina Merriweather.
Welch feels Merriweather has given her an additional boost of confidence.
“At Pittsburgh I was more of a role player and was limited,” Welch said. “Here she (Merriweather) says, ‘You have the green light.’ She encourages me to push the ball knowing that I have help. She is giving me the confidence to be the great player she knows I can eventually be at the end of my career.”
The rest of the Raider roster also has a fresh look with several new faces. Welch noted that guards will be relied upon because of the way the lineup is assembled.
“We’re going to be a majority guard team so we’ve got to be a lot faster and really mean down low. I think we’re working really well towards being cohesive,” Welch said. “Even though we are small we have the right defense to alter some of the taller teams.”
Welch has also been on point as a communication studies major with a GPA over 3.4. She expressed an interest in a sports field related to communication and has plans to attend graduate school for sports management.
Off the court Welch has shown her leadership as one of two representatives on the women’s basketball team for the WSU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
“Every month we meet to go over ways to make all of our programs stronger and Wright State a better place by supporting other teams,” Welch said.
Welch has hopes of contending for a Horizon League title. However this season goes, she has proven to have the confidence, leadership and ability that can carry a team.
“I always aim high,” Welch said. “We do have some challenges, but I think we can take those on pretty well. I have confidence in my team and coaching staff.”
Story courtesy of Alan Hieber and Wright State University Athletics.