Northern Star: Gabby Blomdahl
For this week's segment, we feature a Hermantown softball player who uses her coaches and hometown as inspiration for her future.
HERMANTOWN, Minn. – Anyone from Hermantown can tell you how much the town means to them.
“Hermantown, oh boy, it means a lot. It’s where you’ve grown up, it’s the tight community, it’s welcoming, it’s where you have all your friends. It’s definitely going to be hard to leave the small town feel of knowing everybody and having everyone know your name and everyone being so supportive of you and helping you through everything,” Hermantown softball senior Gabby Blomdahl said.
Blomdahl has grown up in Hermantown and is soaking up every last moment with her team.
“It’s definitely bittersweet to end, playing four years for the Hawks. It’s a good program, it’s definitely fun. It’s definitely going to be hard to leave knowing all the friends you’ve made and family that you make here,” Blomdahl added.
When Hermantown’s season ends, Blomdahl won’t be hanging up the softball cleats for good. She signed back in November to play college softball for the University of Minnesota Crookston.
“I think one of the biggest things I liked was the small campus feel and that’s a lot like Hermantown. Actually 60 percent of the students are athletes and they’re all pretty close, which is a lot like Hermantown,” Blomdahl said.
Blomdahl plans to major in elementary education and minor in coaching.
“Teaching kind of runs in my veins, my family does it a lot, my grandparents are a big part of Hermantown and they’ve known Bang for a long time, so working with all these amazing teachers and coaches made me realize that this is what I want to do, I want to have an impact on people,” Blomdahl added.
Blomdahl credits this to the coaches who shaped her. Tom Bang had been with the program since he started it 41 years ago, but decided to step down over the summer.
“Coach Bang, oh boy, he meant a lot of things. He could go from being the grandpa who was teasing about everything to just strict on you. He was kind of like the coach that really brought me into softball and is kind of like a father figure to me on the softball field,” Blomdahl said of the long-time coach.
Michelle Sweeney, who played under Bang, is in her first year as head coach and led the Hawks to an 11–6 record and the three seed in the section playoffs.
“They’ve been great. Six seniors, they’re a solid core, they’ve been supportive and worked hard and led by example,” Sweeney said of Blomdahl.
“Sweeney’s been amazing. I’m sure starting over for a coach who’s been there for as long as Bang was, it’s definitely difficult and frustrating. She’s found ways to get us to work hard and to push us to get better and she’s just an amazing coach,” Blomdahl said.
With section playoffs starting this week and Blomdahl heading to Crookston in the fall, she knows she’ll always have Hermantown welcoming her back.
“Growing up, I was like I want to come back here, I want to work with these people and I want to keep the families in Hermantown and work with them. It’s not goodbye forever,” Blomdahl said.