Four Captains Named to Lead 2013 Jayhawks
Aug. 29, 2012
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Ready to get started on the 2013 season equipped with strong leadership, the Kansas softball coaching staff has selected the team captains for the upcoming year in Maggie Hull, Alex Jones, Mariah Montgomery and Maddie Stein.
This season's seniors marks the first full class to cycle through under head coach Megan Smith's reign at Kansas. With that in mind, Smith knew leadership can be found in multiple places on the roster. She and her staff made it a point to have leaders step up earlier this year rather than waiting until the season arrives.
"We feel like we have a good mix of leadership by classes, positions, styles," Smith said. "We want them to take ownership early so we make the most of our fall season."
Two seniors, a redshirt junior and a sophomore comprise the captain core. Unlike previous seasons when the team voted for captains at the conclusion of the fall season, the captains were appointed by the coaching staff.
Senior Maggie Hull became a household name last season after earning All-Big 12 First Team and NFCA All-Region First Team honors, the first by a Jayhawk in either category since 2006. She also collected Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-America Third Team honors and All-District First Team after posting a 4.0 GPA during her historical season.
Hull finished the regular season hitting a Big 12-best .409, breaking KU's single-season batting average record - a milestone that stood in Kansas history since 1979 (Jill Larson, .400).
Fellow senior Mariah Montgomery has set the tone for RBIs throughout her Jayhawk career, and led the team with 40 in 2012. Heading into her final season, she sits just 33 RBIs away from breaking KU's career RBI record, set last season by Liz Kocon.
In the ultimate sign of respect, redshirt junior Alex Jones was elected a captain despite missing the 2012 season with a torn ACL. While rehabbing her knee, Jones became a vital part of the team from the dugout. She offered continual advice to the Jayhawk outfielders who filled her centerfield spot. With a clean bill of health, Jones is set to reclaim her starting role in the outfield and in the circle in 2013.
Although only a sophomore, Maddie Stein holds the leadership qualities her coaching staff values. Stein worked her way into the starting lineup in 2012 at catcher, in the outfield and at first base, showing her willingness to help the team where ever needed. It was her offensive production, however, that moved her up to the three-spot by the end of the season. Only Hull finished with a higher batting average than Stein's .371 mark. Unfazed by the elite pitchers she faced in conference play, Stein hit .358 with three doubles, three homers and eight RBIs in Big 12 games.
The first three weeks of the 2012 fall season revolve around getting the newcomers and returning players on the same page and the captains will play a vital role in that progression. They - along with seven additional returners - will help break things down and get fundamentals and expectations laid out so they can get back to work when team practices begin on Sept. 17.
"They've definitely stepped up, but those aren't the only leaders we have," Smith said. "All of our upperclassmen are stepping up in some way. We're wanting them to step up and really get our newcomers acclimated quickly and going in the right direction so we're as productive as we can be this fall."