Aria Krumwiede has a name worth remembering. Just don’t try to pronounce it.
Scottsdale Chaparral’s 5-foot-3 point guard is near the top of several statistical categories. She leads the Firebirds in points (13.7), assists (3.8) and steals (2.3) and is second in rebounding (5.7). Her assist-to-turnover ratio is approaching 3-to-1, all the while dealing with plenty of double teams and defensive pressure.
But just as perplexing as how the diminutive senior manages to weave through traffic is how to correctly pronounce her last name.
Krumwiede was born in Japan and lived there until she was 3. Her last name, though, is distinctly German, thanks to her father.
And it’s pronounced Krum-vee-duh. Not Krumwidey. Not Krumweedy.
“The W is like a V,” Krumwiede explains.
Not even the teachers at school get it right on the first try.
“Never,” she said. “They just butcher it. I’ll say it once, and if they don’t get it I’m just like 'Yeah, sure.’”
For opposing coaches, pronouncing Krumwiede’s name is the least of many worries.
Krumwiede is often the smallest player on the court, but always one of the most dangerous.
Chaparral coach Marcy Sanchez categorizes her as one of the best ballhandlers in the state, and she has a deadly shooting eye when left open.
Krumwiede has received collegiate interest from Claremont College in California, Brandeis University in Massachussetts and Western Oregon.
“The ball-handling’s amazing, the shot’s amazing, the court awareness ... she’s a true point guard,” Sanchez said.
Krumwiede has been on Chaparral’s varsity squad since she was a 5-foot tall freshman. She tried out for only two days that year until results came back on a heel injury that revealed it was broken.
Still, Sanchez had seen enough to put her on the varsity.
Another freshman made the leap that year, Krumwiede’s lifelong best friend, Sam Russell.
Last season, they were a big reason why the Firebirds took the No. 1 seed into the 4A-I state tournament. However, eighth-seeded Phoenix Pinnacle shocked Chaparral in the second round after the Firebirds had won all three regular season meetings between the teams.
“It was really tough,” Krumwiede said. “The seniors last year, they were on varsity when I was a freshman so it was the last year to win it with them. It was just really hard losing. Hopefully, this year it won’t happen again.”
With a lot of inexperience surrounding Russell and Krumwiede, Chaparral struggled early, losing three of its first six games.
Since then, the Firebirds have gone 8-2 against Arizona competition, and are one of three teams (along with Tempe McClintock and Cave Creek Cactus Shadows) with one loss in the competitive 4A-I Desert Sky Region.
“With every game we’re getting closer,” Krumwiede said. “In the beginning, we were all over the place. Now we’re meshing.”
Krumwiede knows time for her and Russell is running out.
“It’s our last year,” she said. “(A state title) has been our goal throughout high school.”
If she gets it, rest assured people will start learning her name.