Angie Lovell gets to finish what she started.
That's what the Marshalltown native and former Bobcat said Monday night after officially becoming the new Marshalltown High School softball coach.
"I am excited," Lovell said. "I have been coaching some of these girls for a long time. And I am excited to bring a little Marshalltown history back to the program."
Lovell grew up in Marshalltown, played Bobcat athletics and now teaches in the school district. She knows what it's like playing for Marshalltown and now hopes to bring that passion to a young Bobcat roster that features just one returning senior.
"I have a large passion for Bobcat athletics," Lovell said. "I am a hometown girl, and I played softball here. I am excited to bring to the program what I learned from my coach Ken Sutten."
Lovell, who replaces Jeff Lamb, said she's been coaching "behind the scenes" for many years at Marshalltown. She served as a freshman coach to Mike Vint during his stint at MHS, coached several MHS travel teams and has been a coach at the USSSA (United States Specialty Sports Association) level as well as serving on the USA Board.
"I have known (Coach Lovell) for a really long time, and I know she will be a great fit for the program," said MHS junior Kaley Mead, one of the key returners for the Bobcats in 2014. "She is really fun to be around and hopefully she will use her experience and background in softball to help make us better players. I really look forward to being coached by her again."
Lovell has played a big role in developing youth softball talent in the area. Her most extensive work has been with the current crop of Bobcat sophomores and juniors, including Mead, Cassidy Blackford, Maggie Carnahan, Jasmine Judge, Tabby Steffensen and McKaylee Palmer.
"The team will definitely be young," Lovell said. "Some of those girls got experience last year, but we lost a lot of good senior leadership that will be tough to replace. This is kind of a wild card year. They have potential. Now they just have to step up to the plate, literally."
Blackford boasted the team's third-best batting average as a sophomore last year. She hit .365, drove in 18 runs and scored 22 times while starting 34 games in center field.
"She is a very motivational person and she'll bring a lot of good qualities to the the softball team and Marshalltown program," said Blackford about her new coach.
Judge will likely take over as the No. 1 pitcher after the Bobcats lost Lauren Mazour to graduation. Judge started 16 games last year and went 5-10 with an earned run average of 2.91. She also struck out 35 and walked 10 in 108 1/3 innings.
Mead, who also pitches, hit .313 in her 25 starts at first base. She, along with sophomores Steffensen, Whaley and Palmer and junior Carnahan, are expected to play much bigger roles this season.
"We have lots of holes to fill, but this group is excited and motivated," said Lovell, who played softball for two years at Marshalltown CC and two years at Grand View College. "It's their turn and I am excited to see what happens."
Lovell was one of three finalists for the position, according to MHS Activities Director Craig Huegel. Huegel's recommendation to hire Lovell was given to the school board for a vote Monday.
"I wasn't really nervous, but you never know what's going to happen," Lovell said of the school board's decision to make things official. "I am just glad I am going to be the new softball coach."