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Why she’s our Female Athlete of the Year: The DePaul softball signee turned in several integral performances for multiple Panthers teams during her senior year, which actually started with a first-time fall foray into cross-country as she waited for spring volleyball. Cosgrove then helped PBL girls’ basketball to a 9-4 mark and achieved All-Area second-team status at center. She followed that by being part of a dominant 16-2 volleyball run, after which she earned All-Area honorable-mention status at outside hitter. And to wrap up her prep career, Cosgrove returned to the softball field and established an All-Area first-team season for the 13-4 Panthers, hitting .698 while playing catcher and shortstop.

We asked Cosgrove to share some of the most meaningful photos from her high school athletic career. Here’s how she responded:

Photo 1:

“This was one of my first big moments as a high school athlete. We won the Sangamon Valley Conference basketball championship against Watseka my freshman year. I found myself playing a huge defensive role, and it was a super big win for the team.”

Photo 2:

“This was a picture from my sophomore year, after the game that I hit my first softball cycle. I had never done this before, so it was a super cool feeling.”

Photo 3:

“This was the second round of basketball regionals my sophomore year. This was such an awesome game. I remember stuffing this girl on a layup, and then right after this my teammate had an unbelievable reverse layup to win the game. One of my favorite basketball games that I have ever played.”

Photo 4:

“This was at our junior-year volleyball pork chop kickoff. Little did we know this was going to be our last kickoff together, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We always looked forward to this day so much. I loved playing with all of these girls, and this picture shows how well we all played together.”

Photo 5:

“This was after winning the Sangamon Valley Conference tournament championship my junior year. This was against Watseka again, who started to become our rival. This was such a crazy game with foul trouble on everyone, but I was so proud of how we fought through and won.”

Photo 6:

“This picture was during my first cross-country race, as a senior. Cross-country was something I had never done before. A couple of the basketball girls and I decided to do it to pass time during what would usually have been our fall sport season. It definitely wasn’t easy, but I was so thankful to be able to stay active and try something new.”

Photo 7:

“This was during the Champaign Central game senior year. We were so pumped to win, and this picture shows the emotion we put into every game. This year was really sad because I know how far our volleyball team would’ve went with a postseason. I found a love for volleyball this year that I had never had.”

Photo 8:

“This was after our senior night volleyball game. All of us girls had been playing together since the seventh grade. We truly were so close and worked together so well on the court. We went undefeated in the Sangamon Valley Conference. Volleyball was the hardest sport to have cut short this year because we were so excited to see our potential. I am so thankful to have played with these girls, and especially our awesome coaches.”

Photo 9:

“This was one of the biggest moments for PBL softball, during my senior season. We hadn’t won a Sangamon Valley Conference title in so many years. Getting this trophy felt so good. This team truly came together and played so many great games together. This same night we won the first round of regionals, which also hadn’t been done in a very long time. I was so thankful to get a season in with this team.”

Photo 10:

“This was one of my last moments with Coach V (Kelli Vaughn) on the softball field. She was so much more than a coach to me. This picture shows how much she cared for me and every single one of my teammates. I know she will always be one of my biggest supporters. This regional semifinal game was a tough one to lose because it was the last high school sport I would ever participate in.”

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