Recruiting Thursday: Hempfield Area's Howard chooses Georgetown

The Spartans softball junior carried a team-high .448 batting average last season

Thu Mar 16, 2023 - 4:44PM

Jack Ridenour Jack Ridenour
Hempfield Area junior Maggie Howard committed to Georgetown University in February.Hempfield Area junior Maggie Howard committed to Georgetown University in February.

Last Updated: Fri Mar 17, 2023 - 12:44AM

Student-athletes all throughout the country have to constantly battle prioritizing school and sports, whether it’s at the high school or college level. For Hempfield Area's Maggie Howard, she’s always had her focus on school more than sports, so much that playing softball collegiately didn’t cross her mind initially.

“When I first started researching colleges, it was honestly just to go to school,” the Spartans slugger recalled. “My freshman year was in the midst of COVID, so I had a lot of free time to do some research.”

Howard’s mindset towards college softball quickly changed once she started playing on her travel team. Her coach, Rochelle Hall, gave the players information and guidance on the recruiting process and playing collegiately.

The advice she received from Hall was vital, and it ultimately propelled Howard into wanting to play at the next level. After putting together some eye-popping statistics during her sophomore season, she made her commitment to play collegiately at Georgetown University.

“I went to a Georgetown camp last summer and visited the campus and really liked it,” said Howard on her decision to continue her softball career with the Hoyas. “When I got an offer, it was definitely something I was happy about. When I went on my visit, I could really see myself living in D.C. and I really like the campus. It definitely was a good fit for me.”

Howard is another player in the long history of Hempfield Area softball to make the decision to play collegiately. Many of those players who have come before her played for one of the most famous coaches in the history of Pennsylvania softball, Bob Kalp.

Kalp coached at Hempfield Area for 51 years, and for 25 of them, he led the Spartans softball program to never-before-seen heights. During his time, he captured seven WPIAL championships and four PIAA championships. As a freshman, Howard had the chance to learn early from a great coach and a Western Pennsylvania legend.

“The amount of time we spent going over plays and the plays he made up was very cool to see and learn about,” she commented on the unique style of coaching Kalp possessed. “It was great to see how everything comes together and how everything has worked out so well.”

Howard’s ability and knowledge of the game has expanded greatly from her freshman year, which has helped her develop as a player overall. Last year, she led the team with a .448 batting average and compiled 26 hits. She also scored 15 runs and collected 10 RBIs during the 2022 season.

With the season right around the corner, Howard is excited for another chance to compete with this group. She felt that the Spartans were able to bond and connect as teammates, which helped with their overall play.

“Last year was such a fantastic time,” said the junior. “Now that I know what I’m going into this year, and after the successful season we had last year, I’m definitely real excited to get back out there.”

This year’s expectations are high as usual for the Spartans, but Howard feels she and her teammates can exceed those expectations. With the high turnout during the winter workouts and the bond the group formed last year, Howard and her team feels they can succeed with not only talent, but also comradery and hard work.

“Everyone’s out here working hard,” she added. “We are definitely putting in a lot of work, and I’m excited and I know we are all excited to see how that turns out.”