March 2017

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133 K aitlyn Mullarkey is known as "Chip" to her University of Iowa soball family. If not for her meal choice on one uncharacteristically warm autumn aernoon, she might be known as Mickey D, Panch, or Pita P. Here's why: When the Hawkeye soball team announced its annual preseason tryouts for walk-on players in 2013, Mullarkey answered the ad. Before a work- out, she fueled up at her favorite fast food restau- rant, Chipotle. "I get the same thing every time," Mullarkey said. "Steak burrito bowl, no beans, mild salsa, cheese, sour cream, and guac(amole)." Only three other candidates joined Mullarkey at Pearl Field that muggy day; one was a catcher and one went AWOL for the better part of an hour. at le Mullarkey shagging a majority of fly balls off the bat of assistant coach Adrianna Baggetta. She said it seemed like an hour. "I needed to take a knee for a second and throw up a little bit, but then I kept going," Mullarkey said. Mullarkey stuck to a roster spot with the Hawk- eyes and the nickname Chip -- short for Chipotle -- stuck to Mullarkey. "She showed grit, determination, and a little bit of perseverance on probably the hottest day of the year," Iowa head coach Marla Looper remembers about the tryout. "She kept going like the Ener- gizer bunny and finally stopped, took a break, got sick, and stood back up. I asked if she was OK or needed a break, she said 'Nope, I'm ready to go again.'" Now a senior, Mullarkey has grown into a leader on and off the field. In 134 career games, she is batting .269 with 16 home runs, 56 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases. In the first nine games this season, she is batting .333 and has scored five of Iowa's 24 runs. Iowa is 2-7 and has lost four straight games by one run. "I hold myself to very high expectations," Mul- larkey said. "We don't have a winning record right now, but most of our losses have been one-run games, so we're capable of winning these games." Mullarkey's sophomore season of 2015 provided two of the biggest highlights. e Hawkeyes de- feated No. 4 Michigan, 6-4, in Ann Arbor, Michi- gan, and eliminated No. 12 Minnesota from the Big Ten Tournament, 2-0, in Columbus, Ohio. ere have been many off-field memories as well. "I have made some of the best friends that I will have for life," Mullarkey said. "Iowa is a great school, we're privileged to have so many things given to us athletically. I have had a great time here and I'm trying to live it out." But it almost never happened. A native of Park Ridge, Illinois, Mullarkey was a three-year letterwinner in basketball at Maine South High School. e Hawkettes won three straight regional championships and Mullarkey was the team leader in steals and assists as a junior and senior. In the fall of 2012, she enrolled at Division III Illi- nois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, to play basketball. In late November, Mullarkey visited friends at the University of Iowa, attended a football game, and wondered what life would be like at a larger school. Specifically, what life would be like as a Hawkeye. Mullarkey returned to Illinois Wesleyan and played in 13 of the Titans' first 14 games, pulling down 43 rebounds to go with 18 points, 11 assists, and six steals. She le school at semester and re- turned home to contemplate her future. For once, a summer was spent playing traveling soball,

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