Makenna Lutterloh was five years old when she and her cousin began playing softball through the Mission Viejo Girls Softball league. Now, the four-year varsity player for Santa Margarita Catholic High School is a utility player for the Eagles, fielding at either second base or in the outfield.
“I really like the team aspect,” says Lutterloh of softball. “I like having all my teammates, backing each other up, picking each other up. And I like to compete.”
Skilled with her glove and a strong arm, the 17-year-old serves as a senior captain, a role she considers to be crucial, especially in setting a good example for her younger teammates.
“I see myself as sometimes a vocal leader,” says Lutterloh, “but I think I’m more of a lead-by-example kind of leader because I’ve always wanted to be as I would like to be led.”
Lutterloh’s leadership is having an impact those around her.
“Makenna is one of the hardest working players in the program,” says Santa Margarita varsity head softball coach, John FitzPatrick. “Many times she will stay after practice and work on her defensive skills or hit in the batting cage. As a team leader, she has been a positive influence on our younger players, who look up to her as a role model.”
In addition to representing the Eagles, Lutterloh has played travel softball for a number of years. But being able to play for her high school holds a special place for the Rancho Santa Margarita resident.
“I think that the most fun thing about high school is that I get to come back together with all of the girls I grew up playing with,” says Lutterloh. “And just to be able to wear that Santa Margarita jersey and represent the school well.”
Lutterloh feels that the most challenging part of her softball playing years has been the college recruiting process, one that forced her to lean into the knowledge that God indeed has a plan for her life.
Her persistence and patience paid off, as Lutterloh will be heading to Duke University in the fall to continue her softball career with the Blue Devils, where the 2017-2018 school year will be the inaugural season for the university’s softball program.
Lutterloh feels her years on the diamond have prepared her not only for her move across the country, but for life after softball.
“I think [softball] has taught me how to have a really good work ethic and how to sacrifice,” says Lutterloh. “I think I take criticism pretty well, so I think that will help me in the work place.”
And she admittedly couldn’t have made it this far without her father, the one who’s coached her from the beginning.
“I think he’s a really respectable man,” says Lutterloh of her dad, “and I strive to be like him.”