Dec. 10, 2013
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- A pair of seniors, Katie Luetkens (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) and Nicole Sappingfield (Norco, Calif./Norco), will serve as captains for the defending Big Ten champion University of Michigan softball team during the 2014 season. Head coach Carol Hutchins announced the selections today (Tuesday, Dec. 10) following a vote by the team and coaches.
"Internal leadership is paramount to our success," said Hutchins. "Colie Sappingfield has demonstrated great leadership, and Katie Luetkens is a tremendous addition. They each bring different assets to the table, and I think the combination makes for a great team."
Sappingfield will captain the Wolverines for the second consecutive season after serving as a tri-captain in 2013 with Amy Knapp and Jaclyn Crummey. Sappingfield joins an exclusive club as just the fifth player in U-M's 37 years of softball to act as team captain for multiple seasons (Meghan Doe 2002-03, Alessandra Giampaolo 2007-08, Angela Findlay 2009-10 and Amanda Chidester 2011-12). The senior outfielder has been a stalwart in Michigan's lineup since she debuted in 2011. She has started 174 career games at U-M, including 63 of 64 in Michigan's run to the Women's College World Series in 2013. A career .337 hitter, she has earned two All-Big Ten selections (first team in 2011, second team in 2012) and a pair of Academic All-Big Ten citations (2012-13).
"Colie has made great strides with being in touch with what her team needs," said Hutchins. "A leader has to have the pulse of the team, and I think she has developed that aspect of her game."
Luetkens enters the 2014 season with 16 career games played, serving as reserve outfielder for her first three years at U-M. In 2013, she collected her first base hit and hit her first home run as a Wolverine. Following the season, she was recognized with the Maize and Blue Award, the team's annual award for the player who demonstrates selflessness, spirit and hustle that cannot be quantified in a boxscore. She was part of Michigan's 2013 Women's College World Series team.
"Katie has the charisma and the ability to connect to anybody on the team regardless of their status on the team," said Hutchins. "She is a role model when it comes to the intangibles we need -- she brings energy and enthusiasm to our team."
Since starting at Michigan, Sappingfield and Luetkens have been a part of three consecutive Big Ten champion teams, a streak that actually extends back six seasons (2008-2013).
Michigan's 2014 slate includes 55 games and the Big Ten Tournament in Evanston, Ill. The season is scheduled to open on Saturday, Feb. 8, against Florida at the USF Wilson-Demarini Tournament in Tampa, Fla. First pitch is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.
Contact: Michael Kasiborski (734) 763-4423