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Shannon Morris and the Cascade Cougars are ready to kick off the 2020 campaign.

Not only can she “talk the talk” when it comes to knowing softball, but first-year Cascade High School softball coach Sonya McCormick also “walks the walk” with some impressive offensive numbers of her own.

A 2016 graduate of Monticello High School, where she was a four-sport athlete, McCormick played college softball at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, earning all-conference honors. “I transferred to Kirkwood Community College to be closer to home and went to nationals with my team there,” McCormick said. After two years of junior college ball, she transferred to Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis.

“They are a Division II NAIA school, where I was an all-conference recipient last year for softball and this year got cut short,” said McCormick. “I was leading the conference in multiple hitting areas before our season was shut down.”

Pursuing a nursing degree, she is still deciding whether she will use her last year of eligibility next season.

There’s probably a fair chance she’s had some heated discussions with her assistant coach because it is her father, Steve McCormick.

“I am ecstatic to have him on our team to help out,” Sonya said. “He has coached me for years and I think has maybe missed 10 games my whole life, it doesn’t matter the sport.”

McCormick takes over a team that finished 15-16 last season.

Understandably, with the preseason beginning late and her being new, she has not seen enough to make decisions on who will start or where girls will play. “We have a lot of strong young players, and each of them will be fighting for a spot on the field,” the coach said.

Among players from last year, she will be counting on to encourage strong competition through their leadership are Samantha Frasher, Shannon Morris, Libby Felton and Julia Ludwig.

Returning starters from last year include middle infielder Taylor Menster, infielder and all-conference selection Devin Simon and Samantha Recker, who split time in the circle and infield.

This year we have basically a whole new team with a lot of young girls,” said McCormick. “I’m excited about the young talent we have, and the commitment each and every one of them has put into this sport. I love to run the bases a lot so I am excited to use the speed we have and to use the short game when needed. We will be focusing on getting a lot of swings in and working on situational hitting.”

As a Monticello graduate, McCormick is familiar with the strength of the River Valley Conference schools, and she expects that to continue. “I would say (the conference) keeps getting stronger every year. We will have to come ready to play every game, especially offensively, if we want to stay in games.”