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Maddie Youngblood of Marquette Catholic, softball
Youngblood, a senior, should serve as a key player for the Explorers, coming off a 31-7 season and a runner-up finish in the IHSA 3A finals.
She hit .322 as a second baseman last year but is taking over at shortstop this season. The 5-foot-6 Youngblood slugged a home run Wednesday as the Explorers opened their season with an 11-2 victory over Granite City.
Marquette Catholic played Metro East Lutheran on Thursday in its home opener, but won’t be back in action until March 29, when the Explorers have a doubleheader slated at Dupo. They will be home again on April 1 against Belleville Althoff.
Youngblood joins catcher Morgan Wiedman, outfielder Katie Buecker and pitcher-outfielder Megan Wittich as the Explorers’ four returning starters. Coach Dan Wiedman is expecting Youngblood to develop as a leader for the Explorers, who are retooling after the graduation of pitcher Alexis Silkwood, now at Mississippi State.
Brittany Zippirich of Civic Memorial, soccer
Brittany is a multi-sport athlete fresh off a school-record breaking basketball season. Zipprich stood out on the soccer field Tuesday by scoring both of her team’s goals in the Eagles’ 2-0 win over the Roxana Shells. She is a senior this year, playing in her first high school soccer game and scoring her first two goals all at the same time.