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Daily Iowan Female Athlete of the Year: Megan Blank

BY CODY GOODWIN | MAY 14, 2013 5:00 AM

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Iowa sophomore Megan Blank came into this spring season with a new mindset, new goals,  and, ultimately, a new swing.

The outcome was about what she expected, too.

Blank was the heart and soul of the Iowa softball team’s offense during the 2013 season. She led the squad in RBIs with 59, doubles with 15, in batting average at .437, as well as many other offensive categories.

“Megan’s a good hitter, and that’s no secret,” Iowa softball hitting coach Stacy May-Johnson said. “She’s transitioned really, really nicely over the last year.”

A few of Blank’s offensive numbers in 2013 even broke, or at least challenged, Iowa softball records.

Blank’s .437 clip broke a record that’s been around since 1993. Kim Davis hit to the tune of .428 that season. Blank’s record makes her just the seventh Hawkeye to hit over .400 in any given season.

The young Hawkeye’s RBI total of 59 this year sits as the second-most in a season by an Iowa player.

Only Debbie Bilbao hit for more when she tallied 61 in 1997. Blank’s RBI numbers proved vital for the Black and Gold, accounting for 25 percent of the team’s total offensive production of 239 RBIs in the 2013 season.

Beyond the Iowa record books, the Culver City, Calif., native’s RBI total was the second-most in the Big Ten this season.

“It was kind of what I was looking for,” Blank said about her season totals. “The one thing I had thought about, like the one weakness I thought I would have is that I’d have more strikeouts this year, just because my swing is more aggressive and bigger.”

In that regard, Blank surpassed even her own expectations. Of the nine Hawkeyes who normally started for the Iowa softball team, Blank struck out the least among them with a grand total of 11 on the season.

But these power-hitting numbers might not have been possible if not for the change she made in her swing over the summer.

“The biggest thing is that she cares enough about her team that she’s willing to do what she can in order to — yeah, it ultimately helps her, but in turn, it helps her team, too,” Iowa softball coach Marla Looper said. “To some people, it may look selfish, but you have to be selfishly unselfish, and that’s part of it.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise was Blank’s ability to accrue these numbers even while being walked so many times. Her 35 free passes led her team and was the third-most in the conference. Michigan’s Sierra Romero and Penn State’s Cassidy Bell led the conference with 42 each.

That fact adds a little more pressure to Blank’s legitimate at-bats. She expects some pitchers to toss around her, which means she needs to take advantage when they hurl her way.

“I love those moments,” Blank said. “I always want to be the one to be up in a clutch situation because I know I can get it done.”


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