DeKalb softball’s Kowalski commits to IPFW

Katie Kowalski thought she might come up short of her goal of playing softball at the highest level in college.

Dealing with injuries over the past two years caused the current DeKalb senior to miss a lot of time on the mound. But Kowalski received a scholarship offer from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne last weekend and verbally committed to the softball program Sunday.

“My dream has always been to go [Division I] ever since I started playing softball,” Kowalski said. “With my injury I didn’t think I was going to be able to. With the offer I got and the school was just gorgeous. It just felt right.”

Kowalski was named the 2011 Daily Chronicle Softball Player of the Year as a freshman after helping DeKalb win its first sectional championship. She was also a first-team All-Area selection in 2012 as a sophomore despite being hindered by thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition that cut off blood flow from her arm and caused swelling in her hand and soreness in her shoulder.

But Kowalski had her first rib removed in December and kept working. She played in a tournament in St. Louis three weekends ago and was spotted by the IPFW coach.

She took a visit to the Fort Wayne campus last weekend and was immediately impressed by the campus and athletic facility.

“It’s a really nice school,” Kowalski said. “The campus is pretty and the athletic facility was awesome. It was huge and there was so much you could do it.”

Kowalski plans to go into the school’s nursing program and said that her degree will actually be from Purdue University when she graduates.

By getting her commitment out of the way, Kowalski will enter her final season at DeKalb with no worries about what comes next.

“It’s the biggest relief ever just to know that it’s done with and over it,” Kowalski said. “I have my future set. It’s now just actually about playing the sport.”