ONALASKA, Wis. - Mariah Schultz travels to Luther every day from her home in Lewiston, Minn.
"It's about 45 minutes. On the bus, it's an hour ten minutes," she said.
With her every step of the way, figuratively, of course, is Trent Kalmes.
"He's always been there and makes me want to do well for him because he doesn't get to do stuff like we do."
The brother of one of her best friends in Lewiston, Trent was born with down syndrome.
"He's so lovable, and he's always smiling and always wanting to play tag," she said. "He knows how to brighten anybody's day."
Mariah was ten when they met, and they quickly became close.20133542
"He always comes up to me and gives me a big hug. Sometimes gives me kisses."
Last summer, Trent went to almost every one of her games, which for Mariah, put every strike out and every hit in perspective.
"He's inspired me, even though he doesn't know a lot," she said. "He's always got a smile on his face and just teaches me to enjoy life because a kid like him, who doesn't have much, enjoys his life."
"I'd say the one thing that's really unique about her, for somebody as talented as she is, and has accomplished so much athletically, she's still extremely humble," Luther Softball Coach Mark Ross said.
That's a lesson she learned from Trent, and a lesson she'll take with her to Minnesota-Duluth this fall.
"I'll miss him a ton."