Utica High’s Barch signs with Kalamazoo College

By: Jacob Herbert | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 24, 2020

 Utica High’s Madison Barch recently announced her commitment to Kalamazoo College to continue her education and football career.

Utica High’s Madison Barch recently announced her commitment to Kalamazoo College to continue her education and football career.

Photo by Michele Barch

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UTICA — When Madison Barch started playing football in the seventh grade, she never envisioned a world where she was the starting punter and kicker for her high school football team.

Now, six years later, the Utica High senior signed on to play football at Kalamazoo College starting in the fall of 2020.

Barch announced Feb. 15 via Twitter that she was committed to the Division 3 program.

“Personally, it’s a huge stress relief,” Barch said. “I didn’t know where I was going to go to college yet. I was waiting to see about football. It’s so nice knowing I have four more years guaranteed to play a sport I love.”

Over the summer, Barch attended the Ray Guy Prokicker top prospects camp, where she made history as the only girl to ever attend the camp. While there, she split the uprights with a 40-plus-yard field goal.

The camp, which featured alumni such as Pat McAffee, Adam Vinatieri, Brandon McManus and Graham Gano, gave Barch insight into the fact that she has what it takes to play college football based on the feedback she received from coaches.

After her senior season, Barch started sending tapes to college coaches. When Kalamazoo came calling at the beginning of January, Barch answered and took a visit.

That one visit was all she needed to know it was the place she wanted to be. The campus, along with the way coach Jamie Zorbo runs his program, was enough to warrant relocation to the west side of the state.

“It didn’t really take any convincing,” she said. “They had me up for the visit, and that kind of was convincing enough for me.”

Barch said she expects to start right away, and if given the choice, she would both punt and kick for the Hornets.

In high school, Barch played all four years for Matthew Marulli. The Chieftains coach recalled the 2019 season opener Aug. 30 against Bloomfield Hills High at home. Barch connected on a field goal late in the fourth quarter that pushed Utica ahead for the 37-34 win.

“She is a great athlete, a great teammate and a great person,” Marulli said in an email. “Maddy has been a three-sport athlete in high school, so she is always competing and always working. She would do anything to help the team and always has a great attitude.”

While in college, Marulli advised his former special teams ace to keep up the commitment and drive that pushed her to be a great player.

Barch said that playing at Utica came with many fond memories, but that it also came with its challenges. She admitted that the Chieftains are not known for being a football powerhouse in the Macomb Area Conference, so they were always trying to prove themselves to each opponent.

That mentality is something she plans to carry with her into college and is part of what excites her most about playing at the next level.

“You hold yourself accountable at Utica,” Barch said. “I think that will help me prove myself in college to the team when I first get there and to opponents. I’m not just some girl kicking the football; I can do what other guys can do kicking the football too.”

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