2010-09-29 / Sports

College standouts to coach East softball

BY DAN NILSEN
810-452-2655 • dnilsen@mihomepaper.com

Sarah Berry Sarah Berry LAPEER — A new coach right out of college and a sixyear veteran will combine to lead Lapeer East softball next spring.

Sarah Berry has been named head coach and Jody Markwart her assistant by athletic director Sharon Miller. They replace Ray Reid, who coached the last three years in his second stint with the Lady Eagles.

Both new coaches played in college, and Berry was a student assistant at Wayne State University the last two years after finishing her playing career there in 2008. Markwart was a two-time All-American at Ferris State and has a longer resume of coaching, with six years at Ionia High School, five of them as varsity head coach.

But both of them like the order of rank at East.

“I love to work as a team, and this is almost like team teaching,” said Berry. “She’s been coaching for a while, and seeking guidance from her would be a top priority. I want us on a level playing field with our ideas, to help us grow and the softball program to grow.”

Jody Markwart Jody Markwart That’s fine with Markwart, who took the last four years off from coaching after the birth of her son.

“I think I’m just going to try to be a big support to her,” said Markwart. “She has more time and energy right now to put into the program that it’s going to need.”

Berry played soccer, badminton, volleyball and basketball at Acton High in Ontario, Canada, but played her softball in a prestigious summer program with the Guelph Gators. She was recruited by Youngstown State and started at catcher her freshman year with the Div. I school. She then transferred to Wayne State, where she was First-Team All- GLIAC at either catcher or center field from 2006-08.

“I love coaching and the fact that I can give them the experience I’ve learned and help them grow,” said Berry, who is a health and physical education teacher at East. “It’s a natural high when I can help student athletes and see them improve.”

Markwart was an All-State outfielder at Bay City Central and an All-American in 1997 and ’99 at Ferris State, where she still holds several batting records, including 277 career hits. She teaches algebra and geometry at East in her 11th year of teaching.

“It’s a great situation to have two of us that have college experience,” she said.

Reid stepped down at the end of last season after a tumultuous season that had several seniors quit the team before the big East vs West game. He previously coached the Lady Eagles from 1994- 2003.

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