October 17, 2014

Quirke to Northern Colorado

Kevin McCarthy

Greeley, way up near the Colorado border with Wyoming, is getting a new sheriff in town. In particular, make that University of Northern Colorado (UNC) as 6-foot-3 senior Ashleen Quirke of Los Gatos High has given a verbal commitment to join the Bears program.

photo of Ashleen Quirke

Attracted to basketball “because I like contact and pushing people around,” Quirke will be patrolling the paint for Coach Kamie Ethridge as the tallest talent on the team. UNC's current starting center is completing her eligibility this season and that means her 19.0 points plus 2.3 blocked shots per game will need replacing.

Quirke visited the campus on the weekend of September 19-21 and “it felt right when I got there,” she explained. “The coaches were great and I loved the team.” And well aware of what a Colorado winter will be like, she added, “I love the cold.”

It was a big recruiting weekend for the Bears as two other prospects were also on campus and all three ultimately said yes before departing. “They both committed and wanted to know what I was going to do. I said, ‘I will be a Bear if they ask me’” and Quirke indeed answered in the affirmative once the question was put to her.

So what will she bring to her future team?

“Hopefully, good post play although I'll be one of the shorter DI post players. Plus, aggressiveness, rebounding and pulling out my shooting to the three-point line.” Since her freshman year, “I've gotten stronger and better with my back to the basket.”

This development of a college scholarship isn't necessarily a surprise as she comes from quite the athletic family. Her father represented Ireland in the shot put at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, her mother ran track and cross country at UConn while her older brother was a high school and college star in both the discus and shot put and participates every summer as part of the Irish national team. Quirke's sister played prep basketball at Archbishop Mitty and received recruiting interest before deciding not to play in college.

Here's Los Gatos Coach Sami Field-Polisso on her big: “I have been blessed to have coached Ashleen since her sophomore year at Los Gatos. My coaching staff and I immediately knew of her incredible potential, and once we convinced her of her amazing abilities, there was no stopping her in her growth as a player. What separates Ashleen is her work ethic -- she's constantly asking one of us coaches to let her into the gym and on countless occasions I've spotted her shooting on her own at the local junior high's outdoor courts. She loves the game and wants to get better -- what more can a coach ask for? I'm so excited for her future at UNC and am beyond proud of how hard she has worked to reach her dream of playing at the next level.”

Quirke is looking to major in business marketing.