In this Feb. 25, 2015, photo, Fort Recovery High School senior Tori Lennartz shoots against the Perry Commodores in the Division IV sectional semifinal at Coldwater. Lennartz, now a senior at University of Northwestern Ohio, was named NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Honorable Mention All-American on Thursday. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)
In this Feb. 25, 2015, photo, Fort Recovery High School senior Tori Lennartz shoots against the Perry Commodores in the Division IV sectional semifinal at Coldwater. Lennartz, now a senior at University of Northwestern Ohio, was named NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Honorable Mention All-American on Thursday. (The Commercial Review/Chris Schanz)
A pair of concussions halted her first year in college.

Homesickness brought her closer to family, but another injury kept her away from the court for a couple seasons.

A chance encounter got her back in the game, and she capped it all by making school history.

Tori Lennartz, a 2015 Fort Recovery High School graduate and University of Northwestern Ohio senior was named NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Honorable Mention All-American on Thursday.

“It’s huge, I guess,” said the 23-year-old Lima resident, who is just the third Racer to earn the honor. “I didn’t even know it was a thing until my coach (John McGinty) texted me yesterday.

“I guess it’s a bigger deal than I thought it was.”

The 5-foot, 11-inch senior was third in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference in scoring with 16.6 points per game, including eclipsing 20 or more points in a game nine times. She scored a career high 30 points Jan. 11 against University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Lennartz totaled 71 makes from behind the 3-point line, which was fifth in the conference, as well as finished eighth in field goal percentage (37.5 percent), 11th in 3-point percentage (32.1) and 11th in assists per game (2.7).

Additionally, Lennartz — a graduate student by academic standards but a senior in terms of athletic eligibility — was named first team all-WHAC, becoming the first Racer to do so since 2015.

“It is pretty cool to come back and get that my last year,” she said.

Lennartz joins Madison Coldren (2015) and Amanda Francis (2012) as the only UNOH women to be named honorable mention All-American.

Upon graduating from Fort Recovery in 2015 — she was named first team all-Midwest Athletic Conference three straight years to close her prep career — Lennartz attended Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, Michigan, to play basketball.

After suffering two concussions at SVSU, her career was in limbo. She played just two games for the Cardinals, and the uncertainty of knowing if she’d be cleared to play or not was weighing on her.

Plus, being so far from home — SVSU is 275 miles away from Fort Recovery High School — was taking its toll.

“I was extremely homesick,” she said. “Couldn’t bear being away from my parents.”

So Lennartz transferred to UNOH for her sophomore season. She played in five games for the Racers, averaging nearly 20 minutes per game while averaging five points.

But during practice she fell backward on her head, and another concussion cut her season short.

The setback, coupled with what she called a bad fit with the program and coaching staff, led Lennartz to step away from the game she had played for so many years.

“I’m going to be done,” she said, “go to school (and) be a normal person).

Her junior year and senior years went by, and although she didn’t play basketball competitively she still spent time on the court.

She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sport management and marketing, then decided to stay at UNOH to pursue her MBA.

Because she considers UNOH a small enough campus to where she knows most of the people with whom she walks the halls, Lennartz had a chance encounter with first-year coach McGinty.

She asked him if he had any openings for graduate assistants.

Instead, he asked her if she wanted to play.

But first she had to be cleared from her third concussion. There were no issues.

She credited her staying relatively close to the game while also participating in CrossFit for what happened next.

“He watched me do one workout and said, ‘I’ll give you as much money as I possibly can,’” Lennartz recalled. “It was really good the way everything happened. It was all natural. John McGinty is a great coach.”

She said the hardest part about getting back in the groove of playing was her ball-handling skills took a step back. But she said she caught up rather quickly.

“Other than that I was pretty good where I was at in the program.”

Lennartz played in all but one of the Racers’ 30 games, including 26 starts, as UNOH was 10-20 and 6-14 in WHAC play. She averaged more than 30 minutes per game, which was second on the team. She was also second by going 73.6 percent from the free-throw line.

Looking on the journey she’s taken from heading north, returning closer to home and taking a bit of a hiatus, Lennartz said she has one regret as to how it all finished.

“If I could have went back I would have stuck out one more year at Saginaw to see if I could have made the transition of getting over being homesick and seeing where basketball would have taken me,” she said, noting she loved the campus, which is just off I-75, the coaching staff and the facilities. “I think I am very happy with how everything played out.

“Transferred to UNOH, took a few years off. I wasn’t happy playing basketball at that moment. Took a few years off and had a great year this year. I think it played out as well as it could have.”