Bakle, Starnes, Books, Keating to Continue Athletic Careers

Zach Piatt

Sports Editor

Four Northrop seniors signed their letter of intent to continue their athletic career yesterday afternoon on National Signing Day. Robbie Bakle will play soccer at Ohio Northern. Dustin Starnes will run cross country and track at IUPUI. Joey Books will continue his football career at Marian. Ben Keating will play baseball at IU South Bend. These four are great student-athletes, and Northrop is thankful to have them.

Northrop athletes (from left to right) Robbie Bakle, Dustin Starnes, Joey Books, and Ben Keating signing their letter of intent. Starnes and Keating still have one more athletic season to play. Photo by Zach Piatt.

Northrop athletes (from left to right) Robbie Bakle, Dustin Starnes, Joey Books, and Ben Keating signing their letter of intent. Starnes and Keating still have one more athletic season to play. Photo by Zach Piatt.

Robbie Bakle has played soccer for the Bruins all four years and was a member of the baseball team for his freshman and sophomore years. Taking the next step in his soccer career was a big one, and he thought Ohio Northern felt like home.

“It’s truly a privilege to be able to continue to play the game I love, and I will love playing it as long as I can,” said Bakle.

Robbie earned SAC Honorable Mention and anchored a defense which allowed just one goal in conference play this year. He also received second team All-Conference as a junior.

Dustin Starnes has led the way for Bruin cross country and distance track since his freshman year.

“It’s a dream come true,” says Starnes. “All the work these four years is really paying off.”

In track, Starnes has been a Regional Finalist in the open 3200 and the 3200 relay, but it’s cross country where he really shines. He is a four-time first team All-Conference honoree, four-time Semi State qualifier, three-time All-Area recipient, and three-time State qualifier. Dustin is also a Jr. Olympic National Champion.

Joey Books says receiving an offer from Marian was one of the best moments of his life.

“The relief I got when Marian called me was indescribable,” says Books. “It gives me a chance to show every college that refused to recruit me they made a big mistake.”

Books had an opportunity to go to the Naval Academy, but he wasn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet.

“I honestly don’t think I could have lived with myself knowing I could have played more football and chose not to,” said Books.

Joey led the Bruins in tackles and pass break-ups this season.

Ben Keating earned the starting catcher position on the baseball team last season as a junior. He didn’t disappoint, batting .339 and earning SAC Honorable Mention.

“It’s something I’ve worked hard for my whole life,” says Keating. “To finally say I can do it is pretty cool.”

A big reason Ben signed before his senior season is so he could focus more on his game than his recruitment. He and his team have high hopes for this year.

“It’s going to be a big year for us,” says Keating. “We’re hoping to bring home a state championship and go out on a big note.”

Ben has been a part of two Conference Championship teams including the 2016 Sectional Championship team.

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