Polk County has reached into its softball past to help shape the program’s future.
Head football coach Jamie Thompson has been named to lead the Wolverine softball program, filling the vacancy created earlier this month when Billy Alm assumed the head coaching position with the Wolverines’ baseball squad.
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An assistant coach from 2011-2013 under former longtime head coach Jeff Wilson, Thompson will also bring along at least one more familiar face to the Polk County dugout. Former Wolverine standout Jamie Hrobak will serve as Thompson’s assistant coach, with Thompson still working to complete the rest of his staff.
“I enjoyed it back when I was Jeff’s assistant,” Thompson said of adding the softball program to his duties. “There’s a lot of talent coming back, and these girls are a pleasure to be around.
“One of the biggest goals is to have a JV team. That’s happening now, getting the girls to try to help recruit some others to come out and play. If the program is going to grow and remain successful, having a JV team is important to that.”
Hrobak, who joined Polk County Middle School’s staff this year as a mathematics teacher, completed in 2016 a stellar four-year career at Brevard College, setting 58 school records as the program’s primary pitcher for four years after setting numerous school marks while at Polk County. Thompson was part of the Wolverines’ staff during Hrobak’s career.
“She is one of the best, if the not the greatest, softball players we’ve ever had at Polk County High School,” Thompson said. “As a player, she had the best work ethic I’ve ever seen, she and Austin Ollis. She brings a lot of experience to the table, especially pitching.
“She’s excited about it, and she’s going to mean a lot to the future of the softball program.”
The Wolverines return the bulk of the squad that finished 14-9 a year ago, reaching the second round of the state 2A playoffs. Among the returnees are all-state selections Haley Fowler, Maranda Gosnell and Autumn Owen as well as senior pitcher Ashley Scruggs, a three-year starter, and USC Union signee Ashley Ponder.
“We are thrilled to have Coach Thompson as our new softball coach,” said Polk County High principal Brandon Schweitzer. ” He brings experience and leadership that is second to none. We are very excited about this season and watching our softball program continue to grow and improve.”
The Wolverines will be without the services of sophomore outfielder Ansley Lynch, who will miss the season after recently having knee surgery.
“I’m excited for the season and look for us to be successful and contend for the conference championship and make a run in the playoffs,” Thompson said. “We’ll see what happens.
“The main thing is making the season as enjoyable and rewarding for the girls as I can. Winning is a great reward, but it’s not the only reward.”