After she finishes her senior season in both girls’ basketball and softball, Cardington’s Casey Bertke will continue to play those same two sports in college.
Bertke officially signed to play for southwest Ohio’s Cedarville University on Wednesday. While most aspiring college athletes pick one sport to compete in at the next level, she’ll be participating on both the women’s basketball team, as well as the softball team.
“Basically, I’ve always loved both of them so much,” she said. “I’d gotten interest for one or the other from a lot of schools, but turned them down because I wanted to do both. Ever since I was a little girl, I was asked if I liked basketball or softball better and never could answer because I love them both so much.”
That love of both sports was shown in the results Bertke has gotten during her time with Cardington. As a junior, she was a first-team Division III All-Ohioan in both basketball and softball. As a result, she had a lot of colleges trying to recruit her.
“A ton,” she said. “I’d be like, ‘I definitely like this place’, but then think about it and not want to make my decision too soon.”
Cedarville wound up being the winner. Not only did the Division II university have no objections to her playing both sports, while many universities wanted her to pick one or the other, but it also seemed like a great fit for her.
“It was just the entire atmosphere,” she said. “I just felt so at home the minute I walked on there.”
Part of that was due to how she quickly gained a good rapport with the head coaches of both programs.
“Coach (Wes) Rowe (for softball) is probably the sweetest guy I ever met,” she said. “He made me feel so special and I loved meeting him. Coach Kari (Hoffman for softball) — we have similar personalities. I just felt a connection with her.”
Bertke, who hasn’t officially decided upon a major, but is thinking biology, will have to put in a lot of work to be a dual-sport college athlete.
“Basically, both coaches are going to split me,” she said. “During basketball, I’ll be basketball and then have to find time to go in and work on pitching. I’m accepting the fact I’m not going to have a lot of free time. School is most important, so I’ll have to find a way to manage time, so I don’t waste it.”
However, she added that won’t be much different than what she currently does, with the level of participation she’s had in both sports.
“I guess I’m kind of used to playing both so much, so it’ll be kind of normal,” she said.
Throughout her time with Cardington, she’s had a lot of good memories with both teams.
“With softball, probably just all the times going to state,” she said. “Not just the fact we did, but all the experiences on the way. And in basketball, honestly the little jokes and how the team has been together like family.”
After one more season with each of those Pirate teams, she’ll be off to make new experiences at Cedarville.
“Honestly, I’m just excited to play at the college level,” she said. “I just want to feel that big difference and see how it feels.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS