West Aurora's Spagnola picks softball, NIU
It would come as no surprise to high school sports fans that West Aurora junior Emma Spagnola just committed to Northern Illinois to continue her athletic career at the Division I level.
Spagnola, after all, finished second last spring at the Class 3A girls track and field state meet in the 100 hurdles.
The previous year as a freshman Spagnola was third in the state in the long jump.
Spagnola did indeed earn that scholarship, though the surprise might be that it's coming not in track and field.
"I knew I wanted to play softball because I love the family environment and being a team and I love everything about it," Spagnola said. "I love track too but I just had to choose."
Starting softball in fifth grade, Spagnola has never played the sport at West Aurora. She batted .463 last travel season for the Wasco Diamonds with 28 stolen bases and 33 runs scored.
Spagnola has been on a track team since middle school.
She chose NIU over Valparaiso. She said she is unsure what she wants to major in.
"I love everything about (Northern) and it's also like a family and everything and it's so close," Spagnola said.
William Morrow, Spagnola's coach last year for the Wasco Diamonds 16-U team, praised her defensive play at both shortstop and the outfield.
"Great kid," Morrow said. "Great glove, great arm. Obviously she's got the speed."
Spagnola switch-hits. She started playing travel softball with the Kane County Explosion before switching to Wasco.
"I have speed so that helps a lot," Spagnola said. "I can hit from both sides and I'm good at defense also."
It's back to track this spring for Spagnola at West Aurora. She will compete in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, high jump and long jump looking to bring home a state championship she's been so close to her first two years.
Then Spagnola will return to softball when travel begins after the high school season.
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