Monday, July 8, 2013

Maggie Hull Steps Into Justin's World

Ask 100 Kansas softball fans who the best player to ever put on a Jayhawk uniform was, and I guarantee you one of the names you’ll hear quite often is Maggie Hull’s.

Maggie Hull spent four seasons in Lawrence, and cemented her place among the school’s all-time greats during that time. She collected enough awards, both on the conference and national level to make Michael Jordan jealous, and embodied everything a student-athlete should be.

Academically, Maggie was an exceptional student, double-majoring in journalism and Spanish. She earned Academic All-Big 12 first team honors in three years in a row; was named Big 12 Softball Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year; and was named the recipient of the Marlene Mawson Exemplary Student-Athlete Award.

In just her sophomore season, Maggie was named to the all-conference 2nd team, as well as the NFCA all-region 2nd team. She started every one of the Jayhawks games for the second season in a row, and led the team with a .346 batting average. Junior year, Maggie led the Big 12 with a .409 batting average, recording 67 hits in 164 at-bats. She earned all-conference first-team honors and was named team MVP.

In her marvelous senior season, her finest yet, Maggie started all fifty of her team’s games, putting her at 210 consecutive starts; she was in the starting lineup for every game the Jayhawks played during her four-year career. Maggie set the school’s careers marks in batting average and RBI, and ended the season atop three Big 12 offensive categories and appearing in the top five of four others. She didn’t make a single field error all season long, recording a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage. The list of Maggie’s awards and honors from her final season is enormous, but includes an NFCA All-American third team selection.

Maggie was drafted by the Chicago Bandits in the National Pro Fastpitch entry draft in April, and was actually the first member of this year’s draft class to sign a professional contract. She has served as a role-player for the Bandits thus far, and has done well in the role.

I’d like to personally thank Maggie for taking the time to do this interview, and wish her congratulations on her July 5th marriage! If y’all want to (who am I kidding, “if”? Ha!) follow Maggie’s updates and her career, you can find her on Facebook here and follow her on Twitter @MaggieHull.

Q: How did you get involved with and begin playing the game of softball? 
I remember once my uncle told me that as soon as I could walk, I had a bat in my hand. I would be in my basement with my siblings, especially my twin sister Rosie, hitting a ball of a tee. Rosie and I played T-ball and then summer ball just for fun until middle school when we joined a competitive travel ball team. However, it wasn’t until I played varsity softball as a freshman and sophomore in high school that I found out I was good enough to play softball in college. Since then, my passion and love for the game of softball has only grown as I entered Kansas and the NPF.

Q: Did you and your sister always play ball together? How awesome was it to have your twin sister right there beside you for your entire career?
My whole life, Rosie and I always played softball on the same team. Here in the NPF is the first time that I have played on a team of any sport without her! We are beyond close, and in high school we both knew that we had to go to the same college—splitting up wasn’t even an option! After four years, words can’t explain what it was like to have my twin sister and best friend next to me at Kansas. I know that I would not have had the career I did if it wasn’t for her always pushing me and encouraging me on and off the field.

Q: How and why did you choose to attend and play ball at the University of Kansas?
I grew up a Jayhawk fan! From an early age I sang the Rock Chalk Chant, and it was my dream to go to Kansas for school before it was my dream to play softball in college. For Rosie and I, local girls from Lawrence, Kan., it was an easy decision. Once KU started recruiting us, we stopped looking other places.

Q: Both of your final two seasons, the Jayhawks were one of the top-ranked teams not to make the NCAA tournament. Looking back, do you wish you could have gotten a hit here, won a couple more games there so that you all could have had the chance to play in the tournament?
Absolutely. The past two years our team has had the talent to make the NCAA tournament. This past year especially, we defeated OU, the National Champions! However, we lost too many games to teams we should have beat, and that hurt us in the long run. I have no regrets because every game I leave everything I have on the field and trust that the end will work out according to God’s perfect plan.

Q: If you could relive or redo one moment from your career thus-far, which would it be and why?
One of the most challenging moments of my career I went through this year when we were playing a tournament in Sacramento. In a tight game against a team we should have killed, our offense was dead. We were tied 0-0 late in the game when I stepped up to the plate. I smoked a triple down the right field line and slide into third base. An infielder made an overthrow at 3rd, attempting to get me out, but instead the ball went rolling to the outfield. I stood up and ran for home, jumping into my teammates arms after I scored in excitement. Come to find out, I had somehow missed home plate in the midst of my excitement. Next thing I new, the catcher was running at me with the ball and the umpire called me out. We ended up losing that game 1-0 in extra innings.

Q: Y’all shut out Oklahoma, the odds-on favorites to win the championship, on your Senior Day. How awesome was it for you to get that huge W on your special day? Beating Oklahoma on Senior Day is the best memory of my entire career. To me, that one game summed up how hard our seniors had worked and how much heart and dedication we put into rebuilding the Kansas Softball program for the past three years. Not only that, but it was the best gift that our underclassman could give to also show their appreciation for our leadership on the team.

Q: If you had to sum up your Jayhawk career in three words, what would they be?
Passion. Pride. Perseverance.

Q: Say you were Aladdin and the genie agreed to grant you three wishes. What would you ask for?
1. An endless supply of coffee.
2. A professional women’s softball league that has a season and a paycheck similar to the MLB so that all of my talented teammates and I could make a long-term career out of playing this sport.
3. That everyone in the world would have the opportunity to know and accept Jesus Christ as Savior.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of the interview!

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