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What becoming a MAC champion means to Akron's Rachel Tecca

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Akron Zips star and MAC Tournament MVP discusses her path to the MAC championship and 2014 NCAA Tournament.

Akron's Rachel Tecca receiving the MAC tournament MVP award.
Akron's Rachel Tecca receiving the MAC tournament MVP award.
Jeff Harwell, UA Athletics Communications.

Just five short years ago, I was a student at Archbishop Hoban High School. The school features an infamous gold dome that sits on a hill, overlooking the entire city of Akron. From the top of the hill, you can literally see The University of Akron.

I never imagined I would attend Akron for college because it was only two miles from my high school.

I thought I wanted to go away for school and experience the "true" college experience. However, you and I both know that did not happen - after visiting schools, I realized that Akron had everything I ever wanted in a college: a spectacular campus, great curriculum, determined coaching staff, a welcoming team, new facilities, etc. So, at the end of my junior year of high school, I committed and signed on the dotted line to attend The University of Akron and play college basketball.

And I could not be happier with my decision!!

Which is easy to say now...I have accomplished so much individually and as a student-athlete. I have an undergraduate degree in Marketing and Sales. I will finish my Masters in Business Administration in May. I am the school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder. I am an Academic All-American. I have fantastic teammates and l have made lifelong friends...and the list goes on.

However, college basketball has not always been that easy. I have had to overcome a lot of injuries throughout my collegiate career. I have had bi-lateral compartment syndrome surgery, reconstructive ACL surgery, shin splints, a broken nose, and hamstring fatigue.

It felt like I lived in the doctor's offices and training rooms. However, I have been fortunate and blessed to have had such wonderful doctors, physical therapists, and trainers who have helped me endure. As the saying goes, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and all these hardships have definitely made me into a stronger player and person.

That is why becoming a MAC Champion means the world to me. It means more than all the individual accolades. It is a team honor -- an accomplishment that represents everyone's hard work. It is something you share with coaches, players, managers, teachers, family, friends, and the community. All the people that have supported me throughout my career now share in a memory that I will cherish forever. Choosing Akron was the best decision of my life.

I want to be a role model and a good example for the Akron community. To show that Akron is a great place to be, whether it relates to school, sports, or a career. That is why when I saw "Akron" on the ESPN Selection Show on Monday, it was surreal. An unbelievable moment I will never forget. A moment that I hope changes the perception of Akron women's basketball. I am proud of this city, I am proud of this university, and I will forever be proud to be a "ZIP".