The transition from high school to college is a year of immense personal growth for athletes regardless of the sport they play.
Katie Struewing, a sophomore left fielder for Franklin College’s softball program, is no exception.
After posting some impressive numbers during her career at Greenwood Community High School, Struewing spent the 2012-13 school year becoming acclimated with new surroundings, classes, friends, teammates, coaching and, yes, pitching.
“I just fell in love with it here,” said Struewing, who is hitting .350 with 12 doubles splitting time batting second or in the cleanup spot for coach Butch Zike’s Grizzlies.
“(College) is a lot harder than I expected. Being a student-athlete has really been challenging because I didn’t have to budget my time as much in high school. I’m a lot better at it this year than I was last year.”
As someone who commutes to Franklin College from her Johnson County residence, Struewing often finds herself with time between classes.
Instead of making repeated trips back and forth, she remains on campus, utilizing the time to study.
On the field, the transition has been relatively seamless despite the fact the one-time high school infielder now plays a mean left for the Grizzlies, who are 15-15 overall entering this afternoon’s home doubleheader against Defiance.
Zike raves about the two diving catches Struewing has made this season and another time where she caught a deep fly ball at the fence.
So far this season she has 47 putouts with only one error. Struewing’s fielding percentage is .980.
All this after having a tough act to follow — her own.
Struewing’s 27 starts as a freshman netted 33 hits and 21 runs. As a freshman she secured honorable mention status on the All-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Team and made the HCAC All-Tournament Team.
“Katie is really progressing well as a player and doing well academically,” Zike said. “She is evolving as a leader by example by practicing hard and having a good attitude. Her teammates respect her because of her talent and because of her work ethic.”