Chester High School senior Katie Shinabargar, will continue her softball career next year at Southeastern Illinois College, in Harrisburg.
The daughter of Paul and Amanda Shinabargar of Chester, Shinabargar signed a letter of intent on Nov. 30 in the CHS Cafeteria with parents, former coaches, friends, administration, and media in attendance, all utilizing COVID protocols.
CHS Athletic Director Jeremy Blechle hosted the event. Also in attendance was Katie's newest coach, Jim Piersol, who coaches the Southern Illinois Blitz travel team. Shinabargar joined the 18-and-under Blitz this year.
"She is a very good player and I am pleased to have her join our softball family," Piersol said.
Mark Beare, a former CHS student and outstanding athlete, also attended, He is coaching the Southern Heat travel team, a 16-and-under team.
"I have been Katie's coach since she was in 10-and-under softball," Beare said. She just left our program to play for the Blitz and I miss her already. She is a great player and a fine young lady."
The third coach in attendance was Tracy Colvis, who coached Katie her first three years at Chester High School.
"Katie is a hard worker and puts her heart and soul into becoming the very best she can be," Colvis said. "She is self-motivated, asks questions, has a hard work ethic, and is a person you want to be a leader for your team."
Shinabargar has been on the honor roll every semester, all while playing four sports, being in band, swing choir, the school musicals and serving on the student council.
This fall Katie ran cross country for the first time. She was unable to play volleyball due to the COVID restrictions and decided to run cross country both to help out the team and to stay in shape. She has played softball her first three years at CHS and plans to play this spring with the Lady Jackets.
Shinabargar also enjoys playing volleyball and was very competitive her first three seasons at CHS. She also loves playing basketball for the Basketball Lady Jackets.
"I have not won any individual softball awards at CHS yet, but I still look forward to playing my senior year this spring," she said.
She won "Most Improved" in basketball her sophomore year.
Katie has played softball every year since she was 5.
"She loves playing at all levels and she is really looking forward to continuing her career at the college level," said her mom, Amanda.
Asked about her upcoming college experience, Shinabargar said she is excited to start college at SIC "and being able to play softball for Coach Maggie Calcaterra and her great team of coaches.
"I know that I will feel welcomed there and I will have a great time playing for the Falcons."
Shinabargar knows that her main goal at SIC is to get an education. She wants a degree in Elementary Education and teach kindergarten.
"I love working with young children and hope to make a career as a kindergarten teacher," she said. "I might even be able to coach on the side if the opportunity presents itself."