The Le Mars Community soccer program produced its first Division 1 college athlete on Wednesday afternoon. Senior Zoe Wittkop signed her National Letter of Intent to play soccer with the Summit League champion Jackrabbits of South Dakota State University.
Wittkop says her love for the game of soccer from an early age led her to make this decision to continue playing the sport at a high level.
The process began earlier this calendar year for Wittkop. After a visit to Brookings, she says there was an instant connection and a desire to be a Jackrabbit.
The decision is not shocking to Le Mars head coach Nicole Green. She says Wittkop has been an elite athlete that can do anything asked when she is on the pitch.
That athleticism is why South Dakota State head coach Brock Thompson wanted to make sure Wittkop became a Jackrabbit.
One aspect of Wittkop’s game that cannot be shown via a statistic is the leadership aspect she brings to the pitch. Coach Green says she has converted athletes into being soccer players who otherwise would not have given the sport a chance.
Wittkop says that leadership paired with a work ethic that comes from being in a small town helped her stick out from the rest.
Coach Green hopes the signing shows and encourages other girls at Le Mars to pursue the sport at a level in which they can get an opportunity to play collegiately.
Wittkop will join a Jackrabbit program that will be fresh off an NCAA Tournament berth. The Jackrabbits won the Summit League this season and will play at Nebraska on Friday in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. It will be the program’s seventh overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament.