Story by Caleb Betterton - Managing Editor
Recruiting is an essential aspect of any college sport. The better the coach recruits, the better the team.
Recruiting can often be challenging and hard work, and different coaches have different styles and ways of recruiting the players they want to play for them.
Rose State Softball Head Coach Nickie Madden begins with making the rounds of different summer games and leagues, as well as holding tryouts to identify the players she wants to recruit.
After Madden has identified the players she wants, she finds out which high school they attend, then works on getting them on campus.
Most of the athletes Madden recruits are local, but she does reach out to the surrounding states as well.
Madden is looking “for freshman who are ready to start.”
Being at a two-year program, there is not a lot of time to develop players and have them sit out a year because the turnover is so fast. This can be a struggle for both the coach and the player.
Madden said she also looks for “good character kids that will represent the school well.”
Softball recruiting offers some unique challenges of its own. Because most coaches watch only summer ball and not high school teams, the players must stand out.
Camps are also a great way for players to get noticed, which is how catcher Macy Naylor was scouted by Rose State.
“For me it was a lot about going to camps,” Naylor said.
She attended a camp in Tulsa where she met Madden and invited her to Rose State’s camp. Naylor attended the Rose State camp for three years.
She eventually received an offer and the rest is history. Another aspect of recruiting is picking up transfer students such as pitcher and first baseman Hannah Dean.
“Rose was my second chance,” Dean said.
Dean originally went to Oklahoma Christian University; however, she became injured and was forced to leave because they could not figure out what was wrong with her. After she left, they found the source of the injury, and she had surgery a week later.
Soon after, Brian Madden, Nickie Madden’s husband and Dean’s former travel ball coach, asked Dean if she would like to play again. Dean said yes, and he connected her with Madden who signed her up to be a Raider.
For some players, it can be an unexpected blessing to be recruited at all.
“It was kind of crazy,” said Sydney Griggs, Rose State softball catcher.
Griggs went to a smaller high school where people are not usually recruited. She was first noticed when Madden was recruiting one of her teammates on the travel team. Griggs played for the travel team at the time.
At a Christmas party Griggs’ junior year, Madden invited her to come visit Rose State.
Griggs chose Rose State be-cause of what the college offered her academically.
“My No. 1 goal is to be anacademic all American,” Griggs said.
Recruiting is all about trying to be successful for both players and coaches, on the field and academically.
Rose State softball looks to be successful this season. To show support, find game locations and times at www.rscraiders.com/sports/softball/schedule .
Story by Madi Zick, Multimedia Editor
The 2018 season ended with a 25-24 record for the Lady Raiders softball team. With six returning sophomores and 11 freshmen for the upcoming season, the bases are loaded and the 2019 Lady Raiders are primed to hit a grand slam.
Head Coach Nickie Madden is ready for the team to leave it all on the field this season. The team is currently in preseason, which consists of two-a-days, where the girls practice twice a day. Madden explained the team works a lot on strength and conditioning in the weight room, while also working in the cages on hitting and pitching.
With 11 freshmen, there can be worries about the chemistry of a new team, but Madden is ready for the challenge.
“We will have several freshmen in some key positions, so we are young in that regard, but we are very talented, so the sky’s the limit,” Madden exclaimed.
Sophomore Kylie Stubbs is more than excited for this upcoming season. Stubbs explained this is a new year, a new team and once the team clicks, they will be unstoppable.
Coach Madden and assistant Coach Randee Milam have helped push Stubbs into being the best player, student and person she can be. She explained that in order to be a part of this team you have to be dedicated to deal with conditioning, scrimmages and practices, with morning and afternoon sessions.
“This team has no boundaries...there will be nothing we can’t accomplish together... I think this could be one of the best teams Rose State has had” Stubbs said.
Stubbs is excited to see what the team can accomplish and envisions a better team record, individual statistics for all players and a fun season. The team is loaded and positions are won and lost daily.
Stubbs encourages everyone to come out and support the Lady Raider’s this season. The schedule can be found at rscraiders. com. The first scrimmage is at Rose State on Feb. 5 against the OCU Stars. Come out and cheer on the Lady Raiders!
By Danny Fritts
Photos courtesy of Bob Whitaker
This month’s Raider Spotlight features sophomore outfielder Jada Austin. Austin is a graduate from Lawton Eisenhower High School and currently wears No. 12.
What’s one aspect of your game that you excel at?
“I would love to say that I excel at every aspect of the game, but obviously that’s not true. But something I am confident about is my hitting. I feel that I have been able to use slapping to my advantage. Especially at the level I’m striving to be at, I am able to control and position my hits based on the defense, giving me edge over the competition.”
What’s an area of your game that you can get better at?
“One area of my game that I feel like I need to improve at is my mental game. Physical is usually an easy fix but the moment I step into my head is when I truly start to struggle. Being that I tend to be my own biggest critic, I always drive for perfection and often stress when I don’t meet my expectations.”
Describe your favorite memory playing at Rose State.
“This is a hard question; I have so many from both my sophomore and freshman year, so I’m just going to say every day is my favorite memory. I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet and play so many amazing people while playing ball at Rose that has made every day one that I won’t forget.”
Catch Austin and the Lady Raiders’ next home game as they take on Connors State College on at 4 p.m. April 10. For a full look at the rest of the schedule and player statistics, visit rscraiders.com.