Annie Stritzel’s basketball career cut short


Photo by Gil Talbot 

Annie Stritzel dribbling against Dartmouth for a 60-59 win on January 17th, 2022

Mary Bridget Wilson

2019 Nazareth alumna Annie Stritzel’s basketball career at Harvard is getting cut short due to a preexisting condition, but she will continue her education and more at Harvard.

Before she made it to the Division 1 level at an Ivy League school, Stritzel played basketball for Nazareth during which time the team placed 2nd and 3rd in the state. 

Stritzel made a huge impact while playing on the Nazareth team, but it was also when she was diagnosed with Osteochondritis Dissecans, which according to the Mayo Clinic is a joint condition in which bone underneath the cartilage of a joint dies due to lack of blood flow. 

Stritzel said, “Basically, I have a huge hole in my ankle and it has caused about 25% of my cartilage to deteriorate.” So, it was decided at the beginning of this basketball season that playing would not be an option for her next year.

Stritzel was hoping she would be able to finish off her college basketball career at Harvard, but the pain has become too much. Stritzel’s dad and Nazareth Girls Basketball coach Eddie Stritzel, knows that it’s time to stop playing. He said, “After games where she plays big minutes, she is just in so much pain, it’s getting hard.” 

Though not able to play, Stritzel plans to remain a part of the team by taking on a manager role next year. Stritzel will also shift her focus to become engaged in more clubs on campus and expand her experience at Harvard beyond basketball. She doesn’t have everything figured out right now, but said, “there is no better place than Harvard to be able to figure it out.” 

Stritzel is majoring in economics and government, but she does think eventually she would like to work in the sports world.

Stritzel’s former teammate, Senior Mary Titzer can vouch for her character and abilities on and off the court. Titzer said, ¨Annie was an outstanding player and teammate who you only come across once in a lifetime. Off the court, Annie was an amazing friend. As a freshman I came onto a varsity team with mostly upperclassmen, and she always made me feel welcomed and made me laugh so hard. Some of my favorite memories during on the 2019 season with Annie.¨ 

Another former teammate, Senior Caroline Workman said, “Annie was easily the hardest worker I have ever played with. While she may have been goofy on the bus as the ringleader of our rap battles, she always put basketball first. As soon as she set foot on the court, she took control. She was a fearless leader and inspired me to become the basketball player I am today.” 

At Harvard, Stritzel and a teammate are in the process of starting an injured athlete support group. Being an injured athlete can be so difficult physically and psychologically, so she will be looking forward to connecting with other injured athletes and sharing her own experience so they get through it together.