Fargo North-South hockey standout Rylee Bartz commits to St. Thomas
The Spruins forward is coming off of an impressive junior campaign in which she recorded a state-leading and record-breaking 67 goals along with 21 assists en route to a state championship
FARGO — Rylee Bartz won't have to venture too far from her hometown to continue playing hockey after high school next year.
The Fargo North-South standout has committed to the University of St. Thomas. Bartz announced her decision on social media Wednesday.
"I am proud and honored to announce my commitment to play D1 hockey and further my education at the University of St. Thomas," Bartz said in an Instagram post Wednesday. "Thank you to all of my family, friends, coaches, and everyone else who have helped me along the way! #rolltommies."
Bartz will be a senior for North-South this upcoming season, coming off of an impressive junior campaign during which she recorded a state-leading and record-breaking 67 goals along with 21 assists, and the Spruins won their first state championship.
Bartz earned Most Valuable Player honors at the state tournament in February, scoring seven of North-South's 10 tournament goals. Two of those goals came against Fargo Davies in the state title game, which the Spruins won 2-1 in a double-overtime thriller .
St. Thomas — located just over 3-1/2 hours southeast of Fargo in St. Paul, Minnesota — will begin its second season as an NCAA Division I program in the fall after ending its inaugural DI season with a mark of 5-27-1. The Tommies compete in the eight-member Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
Bartz said her heart landed on St. Thomas within the last few weeks.
"The last couple of weeks in the recruiting process was pretty crazy," she said. "I had quite a few schools reach out to me and then St. Thomas was a school that stayed in touch with me since the beginning of the recruiting process. They invited me to come down to their campus last week, and after I visited I kind of knew that that was the college I wanted to go to."
Bartz cited several points that sold her on the Tommies.
"There were some factors that went into it," Bartz said. "The college has a really strong academic program, I loved the coaches and then I also wanted to stay somewhat close to home so my friends and family could come watch. Then I also feel like they're recruiting some high-level girls that I know and have played with."
One of those players is Bartz's former Spruins teammate and Oak Grove alumna Abby Promersberger, who enters her sophomore season with the Tommies in 2022-23.
"I also get to play with a former teammate who I still train with in the offseason," Bartz said.
Making St. Thomas even more enticing to Bartz was its status as an up-and-coming DI program entering its second season of play at the highest level.
"Getting to help build a new program that's coming up is always going to be fun," Bartz said. "And I feel like they're really bringing in some high-level recruits, so it's going to be a really fun process."
Before Bartz moves on to the next level, she has one more season to finish out in high school this winter. Her video-game-like statistics from a season ago will be tough to top, but she's looking forward to the challenge.
"The offseason is going really good," Bartz said. "I keep staying on the ice and I'm looking forward to the high school season once again and getting to play with all of my teammates."