Harris County softball coach Brook Zuerner said Lilly Hooper and Brooke Wakenigg had something special even as eighth-graders.
Zuerner talked about the two on Friday afternoon before they signed letters of intent to continue their playing careers during a ceremony at the school.
Hooper signed with Radford (Va.) University, a Division I school in the Big South Conference, while Wakenigg signed with North Georgia, a Division II school in the Peach Belt Conference.
“They were were both impact players from the moment they stepped on the field,” Zuerner said. “We knew this was always going to be an option for them if they continued to work, which they did. So this doesn’t surprise me that they are both signing with good schools.”
The two led Harris County to a third-place finish in the Class 5A state tournament that ended two weeks ago at South Commons.
“I think Lilly has an almost unnatural competitive spirit,” Zuerner said. “When her back is against the wall, you can count on her. She really led us. She is not very verbal, she is not going to tell you about it, but she will show you. Where she went, we followed.”
Zuerner said Wakenigg has a smiliar spirit.
“Brooke has the same kind of competitive nature, but in a much more demanding way,” Zuerner said. “As a pitcher, you have to own the field. When she was in the circle, we could count on her to get it done.”
Hooper, a shortstop for the Lady Tigers, batted .367 with four homers, eight doubles, three triples and 26 RBIs.
At Radford, she will be playing for former Hardaway and Georgia Tech star Aileen Morales.
“I thought Radford was one of the best opportunities for me to receive a quality education while still being a good place to continue my softball career,” Hooper said.
“This has been a great day. It is something I have worked toward. I know Brooke has done the same. I don’t think words can describe it.”
Wakenigg was a pitcher and a third baseman for the Lady Tigers.
“It has been overwhelming and exciting,” Wakenigg said. “I am happy for me and Lilly both and can’t wait to see what we do in the future.”
North Georgia, which is located in Dahlonega, is in the same conference as Columbus State.
“The campus is really pretty,” Wakenigg said. “I think I can do well academically. The coach is very easy to talk to. I really like what I have heard about the school and can’t wait to get into the softball program.”
Wakenigg was 12-7 with a 1.94 ERA. She also batted .299 with four homers, four doubles and 16 RBIs.