Grasso signs with Rio Grande

By Nikki Blankenship - [email protected]

MINFORD- Abby Grasso, senior at Minford High School, learned that life has a tendency to change your plans.

Grasso grew up always dreaming of playing college basketball. She started playing when she was in the third grade and soon became driven to be the best player she could be. She took every opportunity to improve her game including eight years of travel ball, camps and lessons. Grasso’s work showed, with her earning high accolades for her skills. She was named Second Team Southern Ohio Conference (SOC) and received the Associated Press Honorable Mention twice.

In addition to playing basketball, however, Grasso also plays volleyball, a sport she took up when she was in junior high. For Grasso, volleyball was never as serious as basketball.

“It’s just been kind of a sport that has come naturally for me. It’s just fun,” Grasso said.

Grasso’s mom Tracy Grasso explained, “We’ve spent many years playing basketball and travel ball, but we never did a volleyball camp.”

Then, a couple years ago, Abby Grasso participated in her first volleyball camp and instantly attracted the attention of Rio Grande’s volleyball coaches. According to Tracy Grasso, the coaches have been following her daughter since.

This presented an option to Abby Grasso that she had not previously considered. Basketball had been the focus for so long, the young athlete had a decision to make.

Abby Grasso says that when the Rio volleyball coaches came and talked to her, her interest was peaked. She continued to get to know the coaches, attended a recruiting day at the campus and gave a lot of consideration to the the academic opportunities offered by Rio Grande.

Meanwhile, she was also offered a full ride scholarship to play basketball elsewhere. Despite the offer, Abby Grasso was ready to go for something a little different but also a little more comfortable. She loved the volleyball coaches and the small, community setting of the campus.

“It has a homey feel to it,” Abby Grasso commented before adding that the campus is far enough away for her to have a chance at independence but close enough to home that she can be there if she is needed.

Possibly even more important though, Rio Grande presents Abby Grasso with an academic opportunity that is difficult to find elsewhere.

Abby Grasso is has a diverse skill set. Aside from being a sought after young athlete, she is also a artist and a bit of a humanitarian.

“Art’s something I want to do for the rest of my life,” she explained.

As focused and dedicated as Abby Grasso has been to basketball and volleyball, she has possibly surpassed that with her dedication to art. She is mentored by her art teacher at Minford High School, who encourages the student to continue to study and grow. Abby Grasso also takes art classes at Shawnee State University through the College Credit Plus Program and has entered and placed in the county art show and was selected to be part of a program through which she was chosen to create a portrait of a boy from Syria.

When Abby Grasso discovered that she could take her artistic abilities and use them to help others, she knew that was what she wanted to do with her life. Art therapy is a fairly rare program that is not offered through many universities. Though Rio Grande does not currently have the program in place, it is coming, Abby Grasso confirmed. The plans are to have the program in place by fall 2017.

“I want to use something I love to help others,” Abby Grasso commented. And, at Rio Grande, she is going to have the opportunity to do that.

Though she may miss basketball, this soon-to-be college student says she is ready to something that is a bit more fun and allows her to focus on other things.

Tracy Grasso added that her daughter will be looking for art scholarships.

Both mother and father Frank Grasso agreed that though going to college on a volleyball scholarship may not be what they expected for their daughter, they are trusting her decision.

“We feel like she will be successful where she feels the most comfortable, so we let her make that choice,” Tracy Grasso said.

Abby Grasso is currently finishing out a competitive season with the Minford Lady Falcons and her senior year of high school as a Falcon with the excitement building of college in the fall.

By Nikki Blankenship

[email protected]

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1924.

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1924.