Manawa senior headed to St. Norbert
By Holly Neumann
Softball has been a big part of Morgyn Zielke’s life for years.
Thanks to the softball program at St. Norbert College in De Pere, she now has the opportunity to keep playing once she graduates from Little Wolf High School next month.
“When they reached out to me to be part of their team, I knew immediately that this was where I was going to go,” Zielke said. “The goal was to play ball in college. The feel of the campus is very homey and I guess it’s not so bad being closer to home.”
Zielke’s father, Todd, who coaches Manawa’s varsity softball team, agreed.
“Other schools were interested, but this is the closest for me to watch a few games,” he said.
Zielke is excited to take her softball skills to the next level.
“I really do not want high school to be my last stop for playing the game I love,” she said. “It would be hard for me to hang it up in a little over a month.”
She said her father has had the biggest influence in her career as a softball player by always pushing her to be the best she can be.
“As a kid, he would always be hard on me,” she said. “When I wouldn’t want to go out to the yard and play catch, he would still drag me out there to become better.
“I really thank him for that now,” she said. “Whenever I would pout, he would just tell me to just go inside, but that made me even angrier, so I would just throw the ball back harder to him.”
Zielke almost lost her father last March due to his open heart surgery.
“He has put so much time and effort into me,” she said. “When he was in the hospital, I realized just how much he has been with me and without him by my side, it was rough. I just couldn’t thank him enough for everything that he has done.”
Yet there were times when Zielke doubted her own abilities. This was when her pitching coach, Denny Lauer, stepped up to the plate to give her the extra push she needed.
“He was there to tell me I am good enough,” Zielke said. “I really do like to challenge myself because I know at this level, it will become more difficult. It will be a great experience and I cannot wait to be wearing green.”
Zielke also recognized Jill Krause.
“I would also like to give a big thanks to her,” she said. “She has really motivated me and has been by my side since freshman year.”
Zielke believes the biggest asset she will bring to college is a positive attitude.
“Positivity has always been a quality of mine,” she said. “I am always there to pick someone up when they are down. I always want my teammates to know I have their backs. Even during practice, I am encouraging the girls to do their best and I hope to bring that to St. Norbert.”
She also offered a few words of wisdom to other athletes.
“Keep going after your dreams even when you are from a small town,” she said. “I’ve had several people tell me how difficult it will be to play at the next level when being from a small town. I was taught not to give up if you are after something you really want.”
Zielke is undecided on a major, but has an interest in nursing and elementary education.
“I will miss not just knowing my classmates and teachers, but just having that bond with them all,” she said. “I can gladly say that my class has become one big family and I will really miss them. Manawa has made me grateful for letting me have the privilege to get to know everyone and have such great friendships.”ttachments area