Northern Star: Rachel Hagen

For this week's Northern Star, we meet a Duluth East girls basketball player who's battled back from multiple knee injuries to become one of the top players on her team.

DULUTH, Minn. – It is almost a miracle that Rachel Hagen is playing basketball today.

When she was just an eighth grader, Hagen tore her ACL.

“Mentally it was pretty hard to be sitting out for so long knowing that it was going to be a 9-12 month recovery. But I think that was also motivating, to see my teammates out there and pushing myself to get back out there too,” Hagen said.

She would rehab and eventually get back on the court as a freshman for the Duluth East girls basketball team.

“I wasn’t sure where she was going to end up that year. After four or five games of seeing her play at the varsity level, she turned into a starter,” head coach Richard Windt said.

But then, she was dealt with another setback, tearing the ACL in her other knee before her sophomore year.

“For a little bit, I didn’t want to come back. I thought maybe I’ll recover and I won’t play basketball,” said Hagen.

“I think coming back from a big injury like that, it’s the mental aspect. She came back, grinded, did what she had to do and got back on the basketball court,” AAU basketball coach CJ Osuchukwu said.

And now, Hagen is one of the top players on a much-improved Greyhounds squad. And she continues to play in the paint, earning her a very appropriate nickname.

“Rachel’s kind of that Dennis Rodman of our basketball team. She’s around the rim all the time,” said Windt.

“I’m glad she still plays that way because the more timid you play, the more likely you are to get hurt,” Osuchukwu said.

“I’ve never really changed my style of play. If you play with fear, you won’t accomplish what you want. I think playing with no fear, I’ve done what I can this whole year and tried to be the best teammate as possible,” said Hagen.

Categories: High School, Northern Star, Sports