Brooke Louwagie has demonstrated her athleticism in multiple sports during her career at Marshall High School, competing in softball, tennis, gymnastics and hockey. Whatever playing surface she's been on, her determined attitude has helped her find success.
Louwagie's drive to succeed has allowed her an opportunity to pursue athletics beyond her high school career, and on Nov. 27, the Marshall senior signed a letter of intent to play softball at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D.
A third baseman for Marshall, Louwagie has earned Independent All-Area accolades the past two seasons. Jack Houseman, Louwagie's high school coach, said DWU is getting a tireless worker who has a strong passion for softball.
"Brooke gives her heart and soul to the game," he said. "She gives 100 percent when she plays. In practice or whatever we're doing, she's there to play ball."
Louwagie's work ethic has helped turn her into one of the best hitters in the Marshall area. She batted .547 as a sophomore with 11 doubles, and last year she had a .491 average with four triples and six doubles.
Louwagie said she was already thinking of attending DWU because of its athletic training program and wasn't sure if she would play sports or not, but checked into the softball program and was sold. When making the decision to play softball at DWU, Louwagie said she wanted to join a program that reflected her personality.
"What I liked most is that their program is based on hard work and all their girls push each other. That's something I really like," she said.
Ed Kieff, who enters his second season as head softball coach at DWU, said Louwagie's all-around athleticism was something that really stood out to him.
"Brooke is an infielder with a strong arm and a strong bat and she works hard in the weight room," Kieff said in a press release. "Brooke is also a top-notch student and an athlete who also plays hockey. She is extremely athletic and will bring more depth to the program as she develops her skills on the field.
"We are fortunate to have signed such a complete athlete and we welcome Brooke to the program."
Louwagie has one more season of high school softball before entering the college ranks. Houseman said she has done well to improve her game each year, and expects no different once she puts on a DWU uniform.
"Offensively, she's driven to almost perfection with each at-bat," Houseman said. "She's a competitive person. On the field, she does whatever she can to knock the ball down when she's at third base.
"She's willing to do whatever the team needs to be done, so she's played injured before at a position that's difficult to play when you have bumps and bruises."
Houseman said Dani Bahlmann, a 2006 MHS graduate, was the last Marshall softball player to sign to play collegiately. Bahlmann attended the University of South Dakota.