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Ligonier Valley star Grimm on to Kent St.

| Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, 9:11 p.m.
Ligonier Valley guard Maddy Grimm pulls down a rebound during their December 11, 2012 contest versus Homer Center in Ligonier. Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Bill Pribisco | for the Ligonier Echo
Ligonier Valley High School senior Maddy Grimm, (center) signs a letter of intent to continue playing softball for the Kent State University Golden Flashes. Witnessing the event are first row (from left) her parents April Grimm and Terry Grimm; second row, Paul Dominick, girls basketball head coach; Mark Zimmerman, softball head coach; Eric Vogelsang, girls soccer head coach; and Roger Beitel, football head coach. Bill Pribisco | for the Ligonier Echo This photo was taken by Bill Pribisco on 1/8/2013 at the Ligonier High School

Unfortunately for Ligonier Valley and several of its coaches, senior do-everything Maddy Grimm will be graduating this June.

Of course, one school's loss will be another's gain.

Grimm, perhaps the most decorated athlete in Ligonier Valley history, signed a national letter of intent to play softball at Kent State.

“Everything about Kent State felt right,” Grimm said. “I had narrowed it down to Kent State and Pitt. Everything at Kent State was just a good match, and I loved everything about it.”

Grimm will play shortstop for the Golden Flashes. She will be joined by two other recruits — Ronnie Ladines (Arlington, Wash.) and Nicole Teefy (Hiram, Ga.).

“While this class is small in numbers, we feel that it will be an impactful class,” Kent State softball coach Karen Linder said. “This class will help add depth to our roster, and we expect a few to contribute to our program immediately.”

Linder is anticipating Grimm, a three-time all-state selection, to help the team early in her career.

“We are excited to have Maddy join our program as she is an athlete that will make an immediate impact in various phases of the game,” Linder said. “As a shortstop, she has great range and a strong arm. As a hitter, she has tremendous power. And as an athlete, she is a fierce competitor.”

As a junior, Grimm led Ligonier Valley to its third consecutive conference title by hitting 10 home runs, collecting 31 RBI and posting a whopping .579 batting average.

The two-time Tribune-Review Female Athlete of the Year also has starred in soccer and basketball for the Rams. In addition, Grimm was the kicker for the football team.

This past soccer season, Grimm set a school record by scoring 46 goals. In her career, she put in 112.

“Four to five times a week every week she'll do things so incredible that I just shake my head and tell whoever will listen that I'm just glad she's on my side,” soccer coach Eric Vogelsang said. “Maddy was admired by all of her teammates, and she will leave a lasting legacy on this program. All 27 of the returning girls looked up to her, and I know will want to continue the tradition and legacy she's started.”

Despite her success on the soccer field, Grimm said her college decision came down to choosing between basketball and softball.

“For the first time in my (athletic) life I had to make a choice,” she said. “I've been asked a few times recently about maybe trying to walk-on the basketball team in college. I never really thought about it. I can't imagine how difficult it would be to play two Division I sports.”

When her career at Ligonier Valley comes to a close, there's no doubt about the legacy she'll leave behind. As a leader not only on athletic fields but also in the classroom (4.0 GPA), Grimm is wrapping up a truly remarkable era in Ligonier Valley history.

“My time here has been very successful,” Grimm said. “I'd like to thank all of my coaches from over the years. They all helped shape me in different ways.”

Brian Hunger is a freelance writer.

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