Alpena High School senior outfielder Abby MacArthur has a lot of goals for her final softball season.
She'd like to bat around .300 for the year, she'd like to leave her mark on Alpena's softball program the way others before her have and she'd like to help her teammates go far as they can in the playoffs.
In the midst of trying to accomplish all of those goals, one thing MacArthur won't have to worry about is where she'll play softball next season. She recently signed a Letter of Intent with Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids and will suit up for the Golden Eagles next spring.
Alpena senior Abby MacArthur, left, signs her Letter of Intent with Cornerstone University with head softball coach Jim Farrell watches. MacArthur, who plays in the outfield for Alpena will also play in the field for the Golden Eagles.
"I'm really excited. I'm going to a school that I love. I want to have a close connection with the school and be involved, so that when I'm done, I can look back at all the memories," MacArthur said.
One thing that was important for MacArthur in choosing a school was her faith and Cornerstone was a perfect fit. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000, emphasizes a strong relationship with Jesus Christ in an environment that allows students to practice their faith. MacArthur also looked at Christian schools like Aquinas College, which is also in Grand Rapids and Taylor University in Upland, Ind.
"I was looking at different Christian schools and I knew that Jesus was central there (at Cornerstone). The people there really want to grow in their faith together," MacArthur said.
"I'm really excited. I'm going to a school that I love. I want to have a close connection with the school and be involved, so that when I'm done, I can look back at all the memories."
- Abby MacArthur
MacArthur, who plans to enter the school's pre-med program, first visited Cornerstone last August and then took an official visit in October. While there she spent the night with the team and had a workout at 6 a.m., impressing the coaching staff with her ability to compete with the team and her work ethic.
The Golden Eagles finished 16-30 last season, losing on the second day of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference Tournament.
Before she heads off to college in the fall, MacArthur will be a cornerstone in the Wildcats' lineup in center field. She earned all-Big North first-team honors last season as an outfielder and had an RBI in Alpena's district title win.
While another district title would be a fine way to end a high school career, MacArthur is focused on the bigger picture. She's heard stories about Alpena's state runner- up finish in 2008 and wants to see if the Wildcats can get that far this year with another group of experienced players.
Alpena finished 27-10 last season and fell to Swartz Creek 3-2 in a Division 1 regional final. MacArthur had a hit and scored a run in that game
"We've come close to going far, but we've always wanted to go all the way," MacArthur said. "I've seen how frustrating it is to not get there each time and this year I want to make it happen, all the girls are in the same boat."
Alpena head coach Paul Marwede has seen MacArthur grow a lot as a player in the last two seasons and praised her relentless work ethic.
Abby's a very dedicated, hard-working player. "She is a leader and we are very excited about her senior season and her opportunities at Cornerstone University," Marwede said. "She arrives early for practice and is always one of the last ones to leave. Abby is constantly working on her individual skills after the regular team practice concludes."
While she has personal and team goals in mind for her final season with the Wildcats, MacArthur's ultimate goal is making sure to set a good example and leave a good foundation for the players that will come after her like other players did for her when she became a part of the team.
"I want to leave knowing that I helped pass on the same legacy that players passed on to me because there have been a lot of great players that we've looked up to," MacArthur said.