Taking flight: Utah-bound Todd leads Fremd to third in state with stellar all-around play

Her parents are airplane pilots and her grandparents were a horse trainer and jockey.

But thus far, Ella Todd has not really shown interest in pursuing those careers.

Basketball is in her blood — since the second grade.

And it's not leaving anytime soon.

“I loved it when I was little and never stopped loving it,” said Todd, a Fremd junior who says she is math and science oriented in the classroom. “I just love everything about basketball. Our team is great and I just love to compete.”

And compete she has, helping to lead the Vikings to third place in the Class 4A state tourney at Illinois State last weekend.

Todd, who is committed to the University of Utah, has been named the Captain of the Daily Herald Cook County All-Area Team.

That's hardly a surprise to her hall of fame coach Dave Yates.

“I knew (she'd be among the elite players) we've had because you could tell when she came as a freshman that she could play defense and she could score at a varsity level,” Yates said. “That's pretty unique these days.”

Background in basketball

Todd's grandfather was a thoroughbred trainer at Bay Meadows and Golden Gate Fields in the Bay Area of Northern California. His wife, Lotte von Bromssen was a jockey.

Their daughter Marisa, Ella's mother, grew up in the area and played basketball at Northern Arizona where she set a then-record for 3-points baskets in her three seasons.

Marisa went on to pilot for SkyWay Airlines out of Milwaukee.

Her husband Colin, a Schaumburg High graduate who played several sports except for basketball, piloted at Great Lake Airlines at the time.

“My parents met when they were pilots,” Ella said. “My mom retired when I was born. Her mother was a flight attendant and that's how she got involved in flying. My parents have always supported me more than I can ever say. I'm really grateful.“

Marisa and Colin got Ella involved in the Schaumburg Athletic Association recreation league.

“They kind of forced me into basketball,” Ella said. “I loved it and I've never stopped loving it.”

Todd attended Frost Middle School and then played at Immanuel Lutheran in eighth grade where she was coached by Heather Glaser, a former standout guard at Fremd and current assistant at her alma mater.

“I was very lucky to have her (Glaser) and I loved it there,” Todd said.

Shining at Fremd

And now Fremd is lucky to have Todd, who was named the Mid-Suburban League West Co-Player of the Year, leading her team with 538 points this winter (16 ppg). She also was also third in rebounding (148 rebounds) and assists (70).

She was second on the team with 48 3-pointers on 114 attempts.

“She's efficient,” Yates said. “However many points she gets in a game isn't going to come off 20 or 30 shots. There's kids out there who get 20 points a game because they pump it up there 20 or 30 times. Ella averaged 11 shots a game.”

And many of those were clutch free throws and field goals in the fourth quarter, like the big 3-pointers she hit in the final minutes of the state semifinal against Loyola that got the Vikings to within 43-40 (the final score).

At the same time, Todd was coming up with big defensive efforts to slow down the opponents' top offensive player.

So what's her favorite part of the game?

“That's a tough question,” she said. “I just love everything about it.”

Ready for the next chapter

Utah's coaching staff loved what they saw in Todd when watching her play last summer.

“They saw film of me in high school and saw me play over the summer,” Todd said. “And of all the places I visited, Utah was my favorite as far as the people. Everyone is so genuine, the players seemed to love it there so much and it's a beautiful school. I just thought it would be a perfect fit for me. I'm really excited.”

With only two starting seniors graduating, Fremd fans should be really excited about next season with Todd back in the fold for her senior season.

And she will get to play for the second year with her sister Gracie, a freshman this winter.

“Having her on the varsity with me is awesome,“ said Ella, who wears No. 22, the number her mother wore at Northern Arizona. “Gracie wears No. 23 now but she will take 22 when I leave.”

Ella would love to leave with another banner season. She has already played on three Mid-Suburban League West championship teams and a MSL champion squad this winter, the 10th for Yates (425-137 in 18 seasons), who has also taken five teams to the state finals since 2015.

“I couldn't be more grateful to coach Yates,” Todd said. “I owe a lot to him. The time he puts into this program is pretty unbelievable and we talked about it as a team and how grateful we all are for all the time and effort he puts into us. We're just playing for him.”

Yates liked how Todd played her role as one of the Vikings' captains this season.

“I've seen the growth from her in becoming more of a vocal leader this year and accepting that role,” Yates said. “The work ethic has always been there. So just by really working hard the way she does is an easy way to lead. But now, to be more vocal, is adding another layer to her leadership.

“On top of being really good at basketball, she's an amazing kid and it's great to see a kid who has great academics and there isn't one of her teachers who I run into who doesn't say anything except how awesome she is in class. So it's not just a sports thing with her. It's all-around.”

  Ella Todd, of Fremd High School, is the Daily Herald All-Area girls basketball captain for Cook County. John Starks/
  Ella Todd, of Fremd High School, is the Daily Herald All-Area girls basketball captain for Cook County. John Starks/
  Ella Todd, of Fremd High School, is the Daily Herald All-Area girls basketball captain for Cook County. John Starks/
Fremd’s Ella Todd puts in an easy two against Loyola Friday, March 1, 2024 in the girls basketball 4A state semifinal at CEFCU Arena in Normal.
Fremd’s Ella Todd makes a pass against Loyola Friday, March 1, 2024 in the girls basketball 4A state semifinal at CEFCU Arena in Normal.
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