APRIL 19, 2016 - COVINGTON
It's nice to have options when choosing your future path - which college to attend, which courses of study you'd like and even which sport to play.
Being an all-around athlete and a great student at Covington High School, senior Brooke Gostomsky had plenty of options when choosing her future. After all, she excelled in volleyball, basketball and softball - earning 11 varsity letters and numerous league and district honors along the way, including 11 All-Academic Cross County Conference Awards.
Gostomsky, the daughter of Brett and Susan Gostomsky, currently holds a 3.75 GPA and earned induction into the National Honor Society.
Due to her all-around talents and accomplishments, Gostomsky had options to attend several colleges - to play any of the three sports.
But when Gostomsky went for a visit at Defiance College and spent time with softball coach Jodie Holava and the team, she was solid.
"I really liked it up there (at Defiance)," Brooke said of her experience. "I went to a camp and it was run a lot like the way Coach (Dean) Denlinger does things here fundamentally at Covington. I know Halley Patty (from Bradford) and Katie Kuhan (from Celina) and all of the other girls on the team were very accepting of me. Then, after I went for my official visit, I made up my mind that Defiance was where I wanted to go."
Choosing softball over volleyball and basketball was a tough decision, but Gostomsky is confident she made the right choice.
"I know, especially in college, I can't play all three sports," she said. "But I've been playing softball since I was about four or five years old and I've never gotten tired or burnt out on the sport. I've enjoyed every minute of it, so I knew that softball was the one sport I couldn't give up."
Her parents saw the stress Brooke was under throughout the process of deciding her future.
"She had offers from the schools for basketball and we visited several schools," said her father Brett. "She was leaning on either basketball or softball because she loves both sports, but we could tell she liked Defiance when she went to the camp."
Due to her talent on the field and her academic accomplishments in the classroom, Gostomsky is receiving an outstanding financial package to help her along the way.
"She's receiving some partial scholarships and financial aid," said Brooke's mom, Susan. "Defiance can't give full athletic scholarships like big schools, but she did receive a very good academic package. Really, she was rewarded the most financially because of her academics."
Gostomsky, who will major in Nursing, is excited for the future at Defiance once she concludes her senior season of softball at Covington.
"I am excited to go to Defiance, but I'm going to enjoy the last few months with my teammates at Covington," she said. "I've played with Arianna (Richards) since we were five and I want our senior season to last as long as possible. After that, I'll starting thinking about Defiance."
Throughout her career, Brooke has had several coaches impact her as a softball player and a person.
"I've had some great coaches," she said. "My high school coaches Dean Denlinger and Craig Maschino and my travel ball coaches Shon Schaffer, Jim Crowell, Brad Cecil and Mark Gibson. Kirk Kadel also helped me a lot with my pitching. I really want to thank all of my coaches."
During her four years at Covington, Gostomksy has played all over the field - first base, second base, shortstop, the outfield and pitcher.
Covington coach Dean Denlinger feels Brooke's ability and willingness to play multiple positions will benefit her at Defiance.
"First and foremost, Brooke's an athlete," said Denlinger. "She can play anywhere they want her to play and she'll have value no matter how they use her. What sets Brooke apart is she's coachable and willing to do anything for the team."
Which is why Denlinger used her in so many different positions throughout high school.
"Not a lot of kids are willing to do what Brooke has done for our program, move to different positions like we asked her to do," continued Denlinger. "And we didn't move Brooke because there was someone better at another position. We moved her because of what she was able to do."
And Brooke is willing to do the same at Defiance.
"I'm open to playing wherever they put me," she said. "I'm going to accept my role on the team and make a difference was much as I can wherever I'm at."
With Brooke, it's nice to have options.