Back and better than ever...
When talking about Maddie Anglin, Metamora softball coach Deric Linder could go in a number of directions.
He could reminisce about all the clutch hits she’s delivered over her varsity career. Or, he could list his favorite defensive plays, many of which have been quite spectacular, like the running catch she made in the state championship game as a sophomore in 2009...
But, before Linder mentions any of those things about his senior shortstop, he talks about the kind of stuff that has nothing to do with softball.
“Maddie is a wonderful kid,” he said. “She’s great in her church, in her home life, and in the classroom. There’s nothing in her life that she doesn’t do at a very high level ... You want a good role model for younger kids? She fits the role perfectly. Just look at the way she carries herself. I could go on an on about what a great kid she is.”
Now, on to the softball part.
Linder, who has seen his share of all-staters and state champions at Metamora, said Anglin is the best player he has ever coached.
“What sets her apart is the mental part of the game,” he said. “She knows the game so well. She anticipates things in advance. She is also a tough competitor, and she has a lot of talent. She plays the game hard, and she plays the way you’re supposed to play.”
Anglin is healthy after missing part of last season with a knee injury.
She had two surgeries (one in May, one in August), and underwent months of physical therapy. After months on crutches, she had to practically learn to walk all over again.
Anglin said she was blessed to have strong support from her teammates, coaches, family members and friends on the long road back.
“The physical therapy was difficult at times, but being away from my teammates and not getting to play was the hardest part,” she said. “I grieved for a while, and then I moved on, and did everything I could to recover from the surgeries. I had a lot of support.”
Anglin, an all-conference volleyball player, hit the opening serve on senior night in November after missing the entire season.
She said that was a moment she will never forget, and it was a big step toward recovery.
“That was an unbelievable moment,” she said. “I felt like I was getting back to where I needed to be.”
Anglin said her knee feels great, and she is excited about her senior season.
Linder is, too.
He said he expects Anglin to put up big numbers in the middle of the Redbird lineup and to be one of the preeminent defensive shortstops in the area, but he is counting on her for much more than that.
“She’s our leader,” he said. He points to the batting cage where Anglin is working with sophomore Abby Barrow, even though practice hasn’t officially started yet.
“You see her with Abby over there? She just does that on her own,” he said. “She is going to be a big influence on Abby and some of our younger players. Kasey (Kanaga) is more of our vocal leader. Maddie leads in a quieter way. She works so hard and sets a great example of how we do things here.”
Anglin, a 4.0 student, had college softball scholarship offers, but she said she will try to walk on at the University of Iowa next season.
Anglin, who would like to work as a surgical nurse one day, said Iowa’s acclaimed nursing program was the deciding factor.
“I’m looking forward to being a student there. I’ll try out for the team, and see how it goes,” she said.
Making the team won’t be easy, but Linder isn’t placing any bets against Anglin.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if she makes Iowa’s team,” he said. “She has the talent, and she has the work ethic. They’re going to like what they see from her.”