Walnut Grove Gators’ Natalie Rathler is joining the UFV Cascades women’s basketball program for next season. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Walnut Grove Gators’ Natalie Rathler is joining the UFV Cascades women’s basketball program for next season. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Gators’ Rathler going with her gut

Walnut Grove senior girls basketball player set to join Abbotsford’s UFV Cascades program next fall

Natalie Rathler is trusting her gut.

“I was looking at a few schools in this proximity… I came here and met the team, and it was just that gut feeling where you know you belong somewhere,” she explained. “I felt the most comfortable with the players and the team and I feel like I am basically already a part of the little family.”

With that in mind — and because of UFV’s science program — Rathler, a Grade 12 student at Walnut Grove Secondary, signed on to join the Cascades women’s basketball program for next year.

The six-foot forward is a key player for the Gators, who are currently ranked No. 1 among all B.C. 3A senior girls basketball teams.

Rathler’s multi-sport background — she was an elite-level lacrosse player, winning the Langley female player of the year award in 2015 — caught the attention of UFV head coach Al Tuchscherer, who has long had success with those types of athletes.

“She plays with a lot of intensity and has a lot of physicality to her game,” he said. “She can finish at the rim, she’s a good rebounder and we’re excited about the potential she has.”

Walnut Grove coach Darren Rowell said Rathler is an exceptional leader, always positive with her teammates, and a leader by example.

He also predicts she will only continue to get better.

“Natalie continues to improve and excel through her hard work and great attitude,” he said. “The sky is the limit for how much she will continue to improve during her time at UFV.

“She is an exceptional leader who is positive with her teammates and always leads through the example of hard work.”



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Walnut Grove Gators’ Natalie Rathler during opening round action at the Tsumura Basketball Invitational at the Langley Events Centre on Dec. 14. Gary Ahuja Langley Times

Walnut Grove Gators’ Natalie Rathler during opening round action at the Tsumura Basketball Invitational at the Langley Events Centre on Dec. 14. Gary Ahuja Langley Times