Nordick's Last Name Might Be Different But Her Game Has Helped Make UMC An NSIC Contender
CROOKSTON, Minn. - What’s in a name? Whether it has been as Katrina Moenkedick or Katrina Nordick, one thing is for sure, #21 for University of Minnesota Crookston has been a force to reckon with. The NSIC North Preseason Player of the Year is coming up on her final games in the Maroon and Gold but her legacy is one that will be forever etched in the UMC record books. More importantly though Katrina Nordick, along with fellow seniors Alexa Thielman and Megan Taylor will be remembered for their leadership and helping turn UMC into a contender in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate
Nordick, who grew up on her parent’s dairy farm in Perham, Minn., was a highly recruited player out of Perham High School. It didn’t take long for her to find what she was looking for not far from her backyard, 112 miles away in Crookston.
“I was recruited by a couple others schools in the conference and I had some visits scheduled,” Nordick said. “I wanted to make my decision before I started my senior year of volleyball. I came up here in the beginning of August and I had a couple of other visits scheduled later that week and I ended up cancelling them and committed here the next day.”
A big draw for Katrina was Head Coach Mike Roysland and the relationship she developed with her future coach during the recruiting process.
“Coach Roysland was a big part of me wanting to come to UMC,” Nordick said. “He really stuck out to me. I really thought I would enjoy playing for him a lot. I also liked the small campus and being close to home.”
After the graduation of Brittani Wiese, following her freshman season Katrina became the focal point of UMC’s offense and continued to grow as a player, becoming more versatile, which included adding what is now her patented move, driving from the arc and making the lay-up. Her big game would come with a 30-point performance in an 80-69 win over Upper Iowa University to open the calendar year in 2014. She would continue to grow from there and finished the year averaging 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds and earned All-NSIC North Second Team Honors.
“I have developed into being a more versatile player,” Nordick said. “In high school I was strictly a post player but now I have developed my outside game to be able to penetrate and also develop an outside shot. It takes time to develop but a lot of it was the coaching staff. They saw what I could do to improve my outside shooting and my driving and they pushed me to work on those things over the summer. It is definitely a lot of time and dedication but it is so worth it.”
Nordick has continued to improve throughout the years and has become one of the best players in the NSIC, evidenced by earning All-NSIC First Team honors last year and being named NSIC North Preseason Player of the Year going into the 2015-16 season. While her individual accolades have continued to mount, a big change has also happened in the culture of UMC women’s basketball. The Golden Eagles hosted the school’s first-ever home playoff game last season and then went on to the NSIC/Sanford Health Tournament. The Golden Eagles are poised to finish in the top four of the NSIC North once again and will in fact host their second-ever home playoff game Wed., Feb. 24 against an opponent to be determined.
Through the journey at UMC, Katrina has been joined by fellow seniors Alexa Thielman and Megan Taylor. All three players have helped each other continue to grow on and off the court and have helped the UMC program become an NSIC contender.
“Alexa and Megan have helped me improve as a player in different ways,” Nordick said. “Megan is the type of player that is going to work hard all of the time and she is always going to push you. We go against each other a lot of time in the post during practice and she works hard all of the time on rebounds and the rest of her game. She has really taught me about work ethic and not taking plays off.”
Alexa and Katrina’s relationship is a special one, as they are roommates and have a great comfort level with each other on an off the court.
“We are close enough that we aren’t afraid to call each other out and tell each other when the other one is doing something wrong and need to fix it,” Nordick said. “Or if we are having a bad attitude one day, we aren’t afraid to say to the other that they need to figure this out. We are also very close and very happy for each other’s success.”
A big difference for Katrina this season has been the noticeable name change as she dropped the hard-to-pronounce Moenkedick (Meck-uh-dick) for Nordick after her marriage to High School sweetheart Josh Nordick. Though not a lot has changed for the two, since Josh is still in school at Bemidji State University and Katrina is still in school at UMC, he is still a great support system for Katrina.
“It is awesome to have the team I have to support me and my family but with Josh it is just another level of support,” Nordick said. “When things aren’t going so well for me basketball-wise he has always been there for me. He has always been there for me, even though we aren’t in the same location right now with me in Crookston and Josh in Bemidji. He helps me out when I am feeling down.”
As the season winds down for Nordick, she continues to move up the record books in scoring (currently third) and rebounding (needs 21 this weekend to surpass Laurie Tyson), but this isn’t what she wants to be remembered for.
“One of the main things that I would like to pass on to the younger players is positive leadership and I have really tried to stress this year being happy and cheering for the younger players and trying to encourage them when they are down," Nordick said. "I am really trying to show them with my actions how happy I am for their success. I want to pass on the positive leadership.”
This is a trait Nordick learned last year from seniors Ebony Livingston, Kenzie Church and Ashley Martell and what she believes to be one of the main reasons UMC has had the amount of success they have recently.
“There was a big difference last year with how Ebony, Ashley and Kenzie handled themselves and stepped up as leaders for us.,” Nordick said. “We really do try to focus and stress the team concept. Everyone is contributing, everyone is happy for each other and we are all having fun and winning together as a team.”
Nordick will soon hang up her basketball shoes and finish up her academic career, which has also been a success, maintaining above a 3.8 average and earning NSIC Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction honors. She will then turn her focus back to the dairy farm on which she grew up.
“Josh and I are planning to move back to Perham where I grew up and we will actually be living in the house where I grew up. He has a job lined up in town and I am going to work for my brother on the dairy farm and hopefully we will start our own family and go from there.”
So while Nordick will soon be hard at work on the dairy farm and her basketball career will be part of her past, she won’t soon be forgotten. Whether it was as a Moenkedick or as Katrina Nordick, she has been one of the greatest players to step foot on Lysaker Gymnasium. But more importantly, she was one of the players to help turn the Golden Eagle women’s basketball program into what it is today and what it hopes to be for many years to come when she can bring her family back and say, “I helped build this.”