Creekside Middle School softball star a rare recruit
By Mark Ambrogi
Stormy Kotzelnick won’t turn 14 until Dec. 29, yet she already has plotted her college future.
The Creekside Middle School eighth-grader became the first softball player nationally to make a commitment for the class of 2020 when she accepted the University of Washington’s offer of a full scholarship in September. College coaches are not permitted to comment on a player’s commitment until the athlete signs a national letter-of-intent. For Stormy, that time won’t come her senior year at Carmel High School.
“Normally the youngest players to get offered are pitchers and they’re the first to go,” said her father, John Kotzelnick. “It’s rarest of situations that a player other than a pitcher has been recruited as a eighth-grader.”
Stormy mainly plays third base for the Beverly Bandits (from Chicago), but she has also played second base, shortstop and outfield. Heather Tarr, a former Huskies player, is in her 12th season as Washington coach, winning the national title in 2009. John said Tarr has 11 years remaining on her contract.
“I’ve been on several other school’s campuses and many unofficial visits,” Stormy said. “This one was special to me. As soon as I stepped on the campus, I got the feeling this is where I want my new home to be. Another that made me know in five years I want to go there is the coach, Heather Tarr, is amazing. I never met anyone like that. She is so inspiring. She inspires me every time I talk to her to be getting better.”
Arizona State and Oregon also were recruiting Stormy heavily.
Stormy said she didn’t feel pressured by any college to make a decision.
“This is such a good fit for me, and my parents did help me with this decision,” she said.
John was impressed SuperScholar lists Washington as the No. 1 softball program nationally, based on academics and athletics.
“It was a no-brainer decision for me after talking with other schools,” John said. “It all just made sense.”
Stormy, who has a 3.4 GPA in eighth grade, is thinking about majoring in health science or sports medicine.
“I thought it was kind of far away at first,” her mother, Kathy, said. “But once I got there and met the coach, she really cares about the kids.”
Stormy, who is nearly 5-foot-4 and is projected to grow three more inches, also plans to play basketball in high school. Her mother, whose maiden name is Miller, was a top girls basketball and softball player at CHS, graduating in 1988. John played basketball at Lincoln (Ill.) College and St. Leo’s (Fla.) University.
“I’m blessed to have parents with athletic ability which has come to me,” Stormy said.