Kali Kossakowski will continue the family tradition.
Kossakowski's dad, Jim, and mom, Shelly, as well Jim's brother Anton all received their college educations from Northern Illinois University. Jim and Anton Kossakowski were both scholarship wrestlers at NIU. Jim Kossakowski will be inducted into the Elgin Sports Hall of Fame at this year's ceremony on Nov. 4.
Now Kali Kossakowski will become a Huskie, too. The St. Edward senior shortstop has verbally committed to accept a softball scholarship from NIU.
"When I was taking the tour a couple of months ago I was thinking how this was my parent's school," said Kossakowski, who will study nursing at NIU. "I got there and met the coaches and they were awesome. The athletic facilities are incredible and the nursing program is really strong."
Kossakowski is a two-time Daily Herald all-area selection. She hit .465 for the Green Wave last season and led the area with 31 stolen bases, being caught just 4 times. She struck out only 5 times in 99 at-bats, had 8 doubles, 21 RBI, a .717 slugging percentage and a .602 on-base percentage.
"I've had the pleasure of coaching Kali the past two years and I'm looking forward to her finishing her senior year on a high note and then moving on to bigger and better things," said St. Edward coach Jaci Corn. "She's helped establish and maintain the level of play we try to have at St. Edward. She sets the bat for the rest of the team. We're proud of her and excited for her. She's earned this opportunity."
Kossakowski, the great-granddaughter of legendary Olympic athlete Jim Thorpe, also weighed offers from Valparaiso, Illinois Wesleyan and Illinois-Springfield but in the end an overnight trip to NIU and a chance to contribute to a rebuilding program made her choose DeKalb as her home for the next four years.
"I went up there last weekend and stayed with some of the players in a dorm overnight and went to a football game and it was a lot of fun," said Kossakowski, who plays travel softball for the Wasco Diamonds. "I just see myself there."
At NIU, Kossakowski will join a program that has struggled in recent years but one that has a new head coach in Christina Sutcliffe, a former assistant at Miami of Ohio. The Huskies were 19-34 last season, but Sutcliffe comes from a Miami program that won 41 games last season, was the MAC champion, and beat Tennessee in one game of the NCAA Tournament.
"She's really down to earth and you can tell she knows a lot about the game," said Kossakowski, who caught Sutcliffe's eye when the new NIU coach was recruiting Delani Vest of Kaneland at a Wasco Diamonds game late this summer.