Dec. 19, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern head coach Kate Drohan announced today the Wildcats' newest six-member class that will matriculate to Evanston in the fall of 2014. The incoming 'Cats are products of several of the top club programs from around the nation and locally in Illinois.
Renee Ariola (Bloomington, Ill./Normal Communty), Abbey Boyd (Wilmette, Ill./New Trier), Brooke Marquez (Garden Grove, Calif./Pacifica), Sammy Nettling (Tucson, Ariz./Canyon Del Oro), Marissa Panko (Naperville, Ill./Benet Academy) and Sabrina Rabin (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North) comprise the group.
"On behalf of Northwestern, we welcome Renee, Abbey, Brooke, Sammy, Marissa, Sabrina and their families to Northwestern softball," Drohan said. "These young women are passionate about their education and very serious about winning championships. Their skill sets are outstanding but we are most excited about their character. We can't wait for them to get to campus."
Ariola comes to Evanston with a Northwestern pedigree; her dad, Tony, played baseball at NU from 1984-88 before going on to a professional stint in the Oakland Athletics organization while her mom, Jill, was a Wildcats cheerleader during the same time. Ariola batted .411 with 26 RBIs and five home runs during her junior season at Normal High School.
Boyd is a local product of neighboring New Trier High School who has been a member of three-straight regional championship squads. Her club program, the Trevians Girls Softball Association, previously produced NU's 2007 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Nicole Pauly
. Boyd earned her high school's Outstanding Offensive Player award in 2013 after nearly setting a school record with an .840 slugging percentage. Also an accomplished volleyball player, Boyd started for back-to-back state final four teams alongside fellow incoming volleyball Wildcat Taylor Tashima.
Marquez has done nothing but win championships in her softball career including three major titles with Bruce Richardson and SoCal Athletics in the last two seasons. Richardson's club program previously produced standout NU centerfielder Sheila McCorkle, two-time All-American Adrienne Monka and three-time All-American and Northwestern Hall of Fame member Garland Cooper.
Marquez also helped lead Pacifica High School to four-straight Empire League championships and the No. 1 national ranking in 2011-12.
Nettling is an elite catcher who was named the top recruit in southern Arizona -- in any sport, male or female -- by the Arizona Daily Star. She played her club ball with the Arizona Hotshots and coach Keith Householder, qualifying for three Premier National tournaments. In Arizona high school competition, Canyon Del Oro has won multiple state titles with Nettling and earned the No. 2 national ranking from ESPN Rise in 2011.
Naperville native Panko is a two-time ICA All-State award winner after batting .587 as a sophomore and .496 with five home runs as a junior. She led her high school to a third-place finish in the state of Illinois in 2011 and has been ranked in Bill Harrison's top 100 softball players list in the Chicago Sun-Times.
Rabin also is a Chicagoland product hailing from St. Charles, where she earned first-team All-State and several local newspaper player of the year awards after batting .534 with 35 stolen bases offensively while going 18-4 with a 1.49 ERA and 121 strikeouts in the circle as a junior. St. Charles North finishes as the Illinois 4A state runner-up in 2011.
Both Panko and Rabin played club ball with Gerry Quinn and the Illinois Chill, placing highly at the PGF Nationals tournament in 2012 before placing ninth in the prestigious Boulder Independence Day tournament in 2013. Quinn and the Chill have long produced strong Wildcats including All-Big Ten selection Kelly Quinn and current 'Cats Olivia Duehr, Brianna LeBeau and Caylor Arnold.
Full bios for NU's six members of the Class of 2018 are below.
5-4 OF R/R
Bloomington, Ill./Normal Community
High School: Has started for Normal's varsity team in all of her high school seasons ... Batted .411 with a .673 slugging percentage, 26 RBIs and five home runs as a junior in 2013 ... Earned a Big Twelve All-Conference award in addition to the Big Twelve Scholar-Athlete Award and a Scholastic Achievement Award ... Hit a game-winning home run against Normal's rival to win the Regional championship ... Played 10 years of club with the BNGSA Angels ... Also played two years of high school basketball, lettering once ... Four year honor roll member ... National Honor Society member.
Personal: Born Renee Elizabeth Ariola ... Daughter of Tony and Jill Ariola ... Father, Tony, played baseball at Northwestern from 1984-88 before being drafted and playing four years in the Oakland Athletics organization ... Mother, Jill, was an NU cheerleader from 1984-88 ... One of four athletic siblings ... Oldest brother, Adam, plays college baseball at Central College in Iowa; sister, Emily, plays softball; youngest sister, Grace, is a competitive swimmer ... Anticipated major is psychology.
Says Drohan: Renee is passionate about Northwestern and inspires those around her with her work ethic. We are excited for Renee to develop in in our program.
5-9 OF L/L
Wilmette, Ill./New Trier
High School: Helped New Trier to three IHSA Regional titles in her three prep seasons before accepting an offer of admission to Northwestern ... Led Trevians to a 29-3 record in 2013, earning the team's Outstanding Offensive Player award with a .507 batting average and a near-school-record .840 slugging percentage on four home runs, two triples and eight doubles ... Named an Illinois Coaches Association All-State third-team pick, All-Central Suburban League, 22nd Century Media All-Area, Pioneer Press All-Area and Chicago Sun-Times All-Area as a junior ... Team set a school record for wins with 32 in 2012 when Boyd was named All-Central Suburban League, 22nd Century Media All-Area and Pioneer Press All-Area ... Was brought up to the varsity squad as a freshman in 2011 for the ISHA state tourney, where New Trier finished fourth ... Has played seven years of club with the Trevians Girls Softball Association ... Qualified for ASA Nationals in Salem, Va., in 2013, leading the team with a .444 average and a .692 slugging percentage ... In 2012, the Trevians took fifth at the USSSA World Series 16-A Nationals, where Boyd batted .455 ... Also an accomplished right-side hitter for the New Trier volleyball team ... Was a two-year starter on back-to-back state final four teams, earning an All-Area honor from 22nd Century Media ... Won the 2013 Central Suburban League Volleyball Sportsmanship Award ... Honor Roll member all semesters of high school ... National Spanish Honor Society ... Illinois State Scholar.
Personal: Born Abigail Phillips Boyd ... Daughter of Mary and Doug Boyd ... Father was a five-time All-Ivy high jumper and team track captain at Harvard ... Mother was captain and a two-time All-Academic MAC honoree on the Miami (Ohio) softball team ... Uncle, Michael Boehm, played baseball at Northwestern, graduating in 1983 ... Grandfather, John Boehm, graduated from Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine and was a long-time Medical School faculty member and Chief of Pediatrics at NU's Prentice Hospital ... Member of the New Trier Power Lifting Club, an athletic and social service club ... Volunteers at Our Place, which serves young adults with developmental disabilities in the community ... Anticipated major at Northwestern is chemistry.
Says Drohan: Abbey is a lefty power hitter with great athleticism and explosiveness. We have been fortunate enough to work with Abbey at many of our camps and clinics over the last few years where she has displayed a focus and work ethic that we are excited to have join our team. Abbey also knows what it takes to perform at a championship level, making the final four in volleyball the last two years with her high school program.
5-0 IF R/R
Garden Grove, Calif./Pacifica
High School: Knows how to win, playing for championship programs both in high school and in club ball ... Pacifica won the Empire League all four years of Marquez's career and was ranked No. 1 nationally in 2011-12 ... Played eight years of club ball, the final two with So Cal Athletics, winning the 16u PGF national championship and the prestigious Colorado Fireworks tournament in 2012 before capturing the 18u PGF National title in 2013 ... In the title game of the 18u national championship, Marquez hit a home run in the fourth inning that proved to be the game-winning run ... With Pacifica, was a four-year varsity starter ... Two-time all-league honoree ... Named Empire League Defensive Player of the Year as a freshman ... Senior Scholar Athlete, ranked nationally at No. 62 for high school seniors ... Principal Honor Roll (4.0 GPA) all four years of high school ... Athletic Scholar Award winner as a freshman and junior.
Personal: Born Brooke MoNae Marquez ... Daughter of Jesse and Lisa Marquez ... Older sister, Krystal, played for UC Riverside from 2005-08 where she was the starting centerfielder for four years and MVP as a senior ... Anticipated major is mathematics.
Says Drohan: Brooke has an incredible motor. From the first time we saw Brooke play, we knew we wanted her to wear purple. She is a true competitor who understands what it takes to win championships. We are excited for her gritty infield play and high softball IQ.
5-9 C R/R
Tucson, Ariz./Canyon Del Oro
High School: Named Tucson's top recruit in any sport, male or female, by the Arizona Daily Star ... Is a four-year starting catcher for Canyon Del Oro, entering her senior season with a career .422 average, 20 home runs and 126 RBIs ... Helped lead her team to the 2011 state championship, earning the No. 2 ranking in the nation from ESPN Rise ... Repeated as state champs in 2012 before reaching the semifinals in 2013 ... Three-year team record entering 2014 is 99-12 ... Is a three-time All-Southern Arizona, two-time All-State Division II and two-time Team Defensive MVP honoree ... Has played three years of club with the AZ Hotshots and one season with the Desert Thunder ... Won the 2012 ASA Gold National Championship with the Desert Thunder ... Three-time Premier National Qualifier with the AZ Hotshots ... A standout athlete, also has earned three letters in basketball, two in golf and one in volleyball ... Ranked fourth in her class of 339 ... National Honor Society member.
Personal: Born Samantha Rae Nettling ... Daughter of Julianne and Bill Nettling ... Father was a four-year letterman in football at Arizona ... Formed the team "Pink Dorados" to support the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, twice earning High School Team Challenge Championships for most team members and most contributions raised ... Recruited over 150 team members and raised over $3,500 annually ... Chose Northwestern over Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon ... Anticipated major is journalism.
Says Drohan: Behind the plate and in the batters box, Sammy is a force. What sold us immediately was Sammy's leadership. She has that knack for making everyone around her better, especially pitchers. We are looking forward to Sammy's power impacting our lineup, as well.
5-6 IF L/R
Naperville, Ill./Benet Academy
High School: Two-time ICA All-State award winner, comprised of a first-team nod as a sophomore in 2012 when she batted .587 and a second-team accolade in 2013 after batting .496 with five home runs ... That season, she also earned the Benet Defensive Player of the Year award, East Suburban Catholic Conference (ESCC) All-Conference, NFCA All-Region second team, Daily Herald All-Area and Naperville Sun All-Area honors ... Following her junior season, again was named to the NFCA North Region second team, Daily Herald All-Area and ESCC All-Conference ... Ranked on Bill Harrison's top 100 softball players in the Chicago Sun-Times ... Led her team to a third-place finish in the state in 2011 and the 2012 ESCC championship ... Participated in the Sun-Times Bandits All-Star game ... Competed three years with the Illinois Chill Gold 18U, finishing tied for 17th at PGF Nationals in 2012 and ninth at the Boulder Independence Day Tournament in 2013 ... Honor roll every year of high school ... Is a volunteer coach with a 10u and 14u softball team.
Personal: Born Marissa Marie Panko ... Daughter of Robyn and Mel Panko ... An aunt and a cousin both earned MBAs from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Business ... Chose Northwestern over Notre Dame, UIC, Drake and Massachusetts ... Anticipated major is environmental sciences.
Says Drohan: Marissa is a an exceptional infielder and a five-tool player. She has great athleticism that will impact our game immediately on both sides of the ball. Marissa will continue our long tradition of left-handed hitters with power and speed.
5-4 OF L/R
St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North
High School: Ranked No. 47 in Student Sports Inc. Top 100 senior softball players in the country list ... First-team all-state, Courier News Sun Times Player of the Year, Kane County Chronicle Player of the Year and Daily Herald All-Area captain in 2013 ... Three-time Daily Herald first-team all-area ... St. Charles North team MVP in 2012 and 2013 ... Hit .534 with a .602 on-base percentage and 35 stolen bases offensively while going 18-4 with a 1.49 ERA and 121 strikeouts in the circle as a junior in 2013 ... Chicago Sun-Times All-Star game participant in 2012 and 2013 ... High school has won three conference championships with Rabin and finished as the Illinois state 4A runner-up in 2011 ... Has played three years of club with the Illinois Chill 18 Gold ... Went 40-for-40 in stolen base attempts during club play over the summer of 2013 ... Took ninth at the Boulder Colorado Independence Day Tournament and the Demarini Tournament in 2013 ... Tied for 17th at the PGF National Championship in 2011 ... As a youngster, was the 2008 USSSA World Series 11U overall MVP ... A speedy athlete, also has lettered in indoor track and holds the school indoor records in the 50- and 55-meter distances ... National Honor Society member ... Math National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society member and president ... AP Scholar.
Personal: Born Sabrina Frances Rabin ... Daughter of Sandra and Steven Rabin ... Chose Northwestern over Iowa, Indiana, Boston College and Loyola (Chicago) ... Anticipated major is chemistry.
Says Drohan: Sabrina has the speed that can change the complexion of a game. We are looking for Sabrina to play a big part in our aggressive offensive
system while roaming the outfield at the "J". She is a bright student with great focus on the field and in the classroom.
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