LINDEN — North Montgomery’s Makinze Rominger finally was able to make a life-long dream come true last week. The North Montgomery senior committed to continue her academic and softball career at Trine University. She will be majoring in pre-legal.
“I chose Trine because their pre-legal program is very good,” Rominger said. “It’s a small campus with small class sizes and it really felt like a home away from home.”
How Rominger got to this moment is a little different however than most high school athletes.
December 14th, 2019 and November 20th, 2020 will be two days that she will remember for the rest of her life. On December 14th Rominger tore her ACL in her left knee. Almost a year later in a home basketball game against county rival Southmont, she tore her right ACL. Despite going through now two ACL tears in separate knees, Rominger’s desire never wavered in getting back out to doing the thing she loved the most; Playing softball.
“I have had a dream to play college softball my entire life,” she said. “My sister has had a big impact on why I chose softball. I loved watching her play it and that made me fall in love with the game that much more. I told myself throughout the entire process that I was never going to give up and to keep pushing myself because I knew one day that I could get there.”
Charger softball Coach Rob Earley knows that Rominger has every bit of what it takes to succeed at the next level.
“She committed herself a long time ago to get to where she is now,” Earley said. “She’s put in the time and effort into this and not many people I think realize that. You can’t teach the type of work ethic that she has. Not only is the talent there, but she’s been such a positive leader for us, and that’s all I can ask for as a coach.”
Despite softball being her favorite sport, that didn’t stop Makinze from being a two-sport athlete for the Chargers. Throughout her rehab process she mentioned that North Montgomery girls basketball coach Ryan Nuppnau was a crucial part of her recovery.
“He (Nuppnau) and the entire basketball team stuck with me through this entire process,” she said. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy process, but they were with me the every step of the way.”
Coach Nuppnau likes to use the legendary phrase from Coach John Wooden of ‘Sport don’t build character, they reveal it’. That statement fits Rominger to a tee. Not only did she have to go through tearing both of her ACL’s, but she missed a large chunk of her senior season due to COVID-19 quarantine precautions.
“She could have easily called it quits but she didn’t,” Nuppnau said. “It goes to show the type of person she is as well as the type of competitor she is. She has the heart and desire to be out there and compete in whatever she’s doing. I think she’s an ultimate team-first person and I’m excited to watch her at the collegiate level.”
Both of Rominger’s parents, Shannon and Eric Rominger saw their daughter go things that most parents shouldn’t ever have to watch their kid experience at the high school level. They knew that their daughter had a special talent and wasn’t going to let a small setback stop her from chasing her dream
“We didn’t let her give up,” Shannon said. “We definitely had some bad days along the way but we prayed through it a lot and her faith in god is helped her get through it. She’s dreamed about this ever since she was a little girl. We have to thank Isaac Hook (North Montgomery Athletic Trainer), her friends and everyone that had showed so much positivity and were pulling for her to get through this.”
“I felt sorry for her when the second one happened,” Eric added. “I couldn’t imagine an athlete like her going through the same thing all over again.”
After the first ACL inury Rominger was back to jogging around and getting back into softball shape in about three months. The second time around she was back in action in about two and half months. She detailed what her recovery was like and what went into the rehab process.
“It’s definitely a painful process,” she said. “I was getting up around 5:30 in the morning and heading to the school and stayed until about six. I did that every single day until I was ready to go. The second time around I knew what the process was like so that’s why I was able to come back sooner.”
On the diamond her freshman season, Rominger showed what she was capable of when she is at 100%. She ended the season hitting .365 with three homeruns and 13 runs batted in. Missing her sophomore season due to injury then having her junior year wiped out due to COVID-19, Rominger is back this season and picking up right where she left off. Through 14 games this season she is hitting a staggering .485 with 13 runs scored for the Chargers which leads the team.
Trine is not only getting a talented softball player, they’re getting someone who will never say never and not let anything get in her way. Makinze Rominger has saw her life-long dream come true and she’s just getting started.