(KMAland) -- Throughout the month of August, KMA Sports is announcing its latest Hall of Fame class. Today, we go back to the early part of the century in honoring one of Shenandoah’s greatest softball players of all-time.
Brooke (Graham) Penn had an immediate and lasting impact for Shenandoah, breaking multiple records and earning several accolades along the way.
“I wanted to be a student of everything,” Penn told KMA Sports. “Every sport that I analyzed, I never just went to practice. I never just went to a game and watched. I sat next to my dad and (asked questions), and my coaches really helped me develop.”
What Penn developed into was an an athlete that made history. According to our research, Penn is the only softball player in school history to earn a first-team all-state nod, as she did in her senior season of 2002.
“There was so much support on everything,” Penn says. “Every coach understood that I wanted to better the team. I worked so hard on my skills to help the team do what they needed and never hesitated to do what they asked.”
Penn moved all around the diamond, securing a starting position at third base as an 8th grader before moving to shortstop, where she was a second-team all-state pick in 2001, and then eventually settling behind the plate at catcher in her senior year.
Penn’s 218 career hits set a new standard at Shenandoah before it was broken last summer by Logan Hughes. Along the way, with all of those hits, Penn was part of Shenandoah’s only two Hawkeye Ten Conference titles in 1998 and 2001.
“I had many great teammates throughout my years,” Penn said. “We all just got the idea that we had to put in the time, be there for each other and trust each other.”
Former head coach Todd Merrical started a travel team with Penn’s age group when she was younger. That kind of action, along with the development and coaching acumen of John and Lisa Connell, proved to be a large part of the Fillies success.
“I remember when I was younger, watching my cousins and thinking we wanted to win (the Hawkeye Ten),” Penn said. “As we progressed through the younger years and getting to that level of high school, it was a goal of ours. We knew that we could do it.”
From breaking records and setting new standards within the Shenandoah softball program, Penn went on to play softball at Midland in Fremont, Nebraska. She earned multiple All-Great Plains Athletic Conference honors and was part of one of their most successful softball teams in school history in 2003 when they won the GPAC regular season and tournament and captured a regional championship.
Penn was hardly just a softball player at Shenandoah. She was a four-year letter winner for some successful volleyball teams, played through her junior season in basketball and made a trip to state and broke records in the shot put during track season.
Penn will be honored alongside the rest of the 2020-21 KMA Sports Hall of Fame class at some point in the near future. Listen to much more with Penn in the latest Hall of Fame interview linked below.
2020 KMA SPORTS HALL OF FAME CLASS