"The home of hometown heroes"

  A Canadian wearing the number 99, Morgan Rackel might be the next Great One for Austin Peay State University softball. 

  A transplant from Calgary, Rackel didn’t even play softball in high school—Bishop Grandin didn’t offer the sport. Instead, she whiled away her time playing basketball, volleyball and badminton, while also running on the track and field and cross-country teams. 

  But weekends and the summer were for softball. Rackel’s path may not be traditional, but she’s no diamond-in-the-rough; a standout on the Canadian travel circuit, her travel squad—coached by her father Lorne—took her to showcase events stateside, which is where Haley Williams of junior college powerhouse Weatherford (Texas) College found her. 

  Two years and one NJCAA second-team All-America nod later and Rackel is now leading a renaissance at Austin Peay. The Govs already have 15 wins as of March 22; Austin Peay has not won 20 games since 2014 and have not played an OVC Tournament contest since 2007, with both easily within reach thanks to Rackel, who has starred at the plate (.306 average, three home runs, 13 RBI) and in the circle (7-3, 1.65 ERA, eight complete games, 85 strikeouts) this season. 

  Rackel is enjoying her time in Tennessee—she enjoys country music and rodeo, which is popular in Calgary as well as Texas. And Clarksville’s proximity to Nashville is a big boost—she was able to see her hometown Calgary Flames take the ice the last time they were in town to take on the Nashville Predators. But now the focus is all softball, all the time, with a singular goal in mind. 

  “I knew coming in here that there hadn’t been a lot of success in program history,” she said. “I wanted to help put Austin Peay on the map in the OVC and nationally.”

WIS Athlete of the Week - Morgan Rackel