Yates Center High School senior Madelynn Collins was looking forward to a big senior softball season in 2020. Unfortunately that never got to happen with the cancellation of the season due to Covid-19.
Collins helped YC to a 14-6 mark last season on her way to hitting .516 with 33 hits and 27 RBI. She also had a 2.1 ERA in the circle as a pitcher. Collins has hit over .500 in every single year of high school with a .541 batting average as a freshman and a .534 average as a sophomore. Collins has 97 hits in her career without getting to play a senior season. She also has 77 RBI in her career. Collins was a second team all-state pick in 2-1A last season from Sports in Kansas.
She doesn't just shine in softball either, she is a multiple sport athlete that has earned several honors in her career. She is the 5th all-time leading scorer in YC basketball history, earned all-state honorable mention honors and also all-league honors in volleyball. Collins also broke the single season record for most three pointers made in a season this past year.
Collins has grown up around sports with her mother, Abbie, being her head coach in both basketball and softball. Her grandfather, Langley, is also an assistant coach in softball and basketball. Both her mother and father, Jason, played sports at the collegiate level. Maddie will aoso get that opportunity as she has signed to play at Allen County Community College for softball next year.
She is also an outstanding student at Yates Center with a perfect 4.0 GPA where her favorite subject is Math. She also has 18 college credit hours to her name entering her freshman year of college. Collins wants to go into Psychology and plans to be an Occupational Therapist. Collins is the Studo president, active in Kays, Foreigh Language Club and TAUD. Collins is also very active in her community and church.
We caught up with the senior below on her lost season.
Q&A w/ Collins
How did you get involved in sports?
My family is very active and competitive, so I have grown up around a sports atmosphere my whole life. I started playing recreation sports when I was very young and just fell in love with the energy and competitiveness sports brought.
Biggest accomplishment off the field/court?
My biggest accomplishment off the field is my involvement in my community. I am extremely proud of my community and love the walks and fundraisers they host. I am an active volunteer in city clean ups, fundraisers, and youth recreation sports. Helping others and using my free time to benefit my community is very rewarding.
What were your goals this season?
On the softball field, I hoped to lower my ERA and raise my batting average. I wanted to challenge my teammates and myself to a win our league and then win our substate. My biggest goal was to make it to state.
What makes you such a force as an athlete?
I think what makes me such a force as an athlete is the energy and aggressiveness that I bring to both the field and the court. Softball is definitely a mental game at times, so being energetic and positive keeps my teammates and me up and allows us to focus on the game.
What’s it like to play multiple sports?
Being a multi sport athlete is extremely common in a small rural town like Yates Center, but I feel that being a multi sport athlete helps me in every sport I play. Sports build hand-eye-coordination and help make sure I stay in shape, which are both useful skills for any sport. I also feel that it is important to allow younger kids to see you being involved and leading. Yes, being a multiple sport athlete is very busy and can be very tiring, but in the long haul it is very beneficial and helps teach life lessons.
Explain the heartbreak it was like to hear that the senior season in sports is cut short?
I was really upset and disappointed; there is no other way to describe it. I worked throughout the fall and winter on different pitches to help lower my ERA, and I worked on my batting to be prepared for what opposing pitchers may throw to me at the plate. All that hard work just seemed like it went down the drain when I found out I wasn’t going to get to play, and the more I thought about it, the more worried I became about not being prepared for college softball.
I can happily say that I am in much better spirits than the first week I found out about my senior season being cut short. My quarantine has consisted of putting in extra workout time, and getting extra cuts in at the batting cage. I have also been pitching a couple times a week, as well. I am extremely excited for college and what fall softball will bring, and I am hoping for quarantine to end soon so summer softball tournaments can happen.
What is your best sport?
My best sport is softball because I just have a pure love and passion for the game. It brings me so much joy, and I love getting to spend all day at the ball fields. I do also love playing basketball, though.
What’s the atmosphere like to play for your school and town?
For a small school and community, the atmosphere is pretty great. Our student section always seemed to find a way to get loud and bring a lot of energy to our team. I would like to see more people come to the girls’ games in the future, but I am very blessed and grateful for the community and support that I have had these last couple years.
Who were other key players on your team(s)?
My little sister, Morgan, was a key player in volleyball, basketball, and would have been for softball. My little sister and I have grown up competing in one-on-one games, pig matches for pitching, and many many other competitive activities. This has pushed both of us to be extremely competitive, and it has molded her into a key player. I also have many other teammates who were key players for the last four years of my high school career in volleyball, basketball, and softball. I am very grateful to each one of them, and would like to thank them for all their hard work.
Favorite thing about sports you play?
My favorite thing about the sports I play is getting to compete and the energy that comes with competing. I also love all the memories, lessons, and friendships I have made over the last four years.
What is it like to play for your coaches?
My coaches, specifically softball, are really fantastic. They are a good mix of honest but positive and are always holding me accountable for my mistakes. My other coaches that I have had this year and in the past have been really great, as well. All the coaches at Yates Center are extremely supportive and are focused on the athlete’s well being and safety. I am very grateful for the positive influences and lessons my coaches have taught me while I attended Yates Center High School.
How much preparation had you put into sports?
Like I said earlier, my family is very active and loves sports, so since I was a little kid I have grown up at the gym and ball fields. Getting lots of shots up and playing pick up games, as well as hitting multiple rounds of batting practice, has really prepared me fundamentally for sports. During high school, I also started lifting weights and really enjoyed it, so that definitely helped me step up to play varsity in all three sports my freshman through senior year.
What interest are you seeing at the next level and what are your plans?
I love the game of softball and it has always been my dream to get to play at a collegiate level. This past fall I was offered by both Allen Community College and Neosho Community College. I signed with Allen Community College, and I could not be more excited about what the future holds. Allen has a great atmosphere and great coaches, and I can’t wait to attend for the next two years! While there, I plan to complete an Associate’s Degree in Psychology. After these two years, I hope to continue playing softball at a four year university where I can continue my education to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Following this schooling, I plan to apply to a Master’s of Occupational Therapy Program at either Missouri State University or Rockhurst University.
Favorite thing to do when you aren’t playing sports?
I enjoy volunteering within my community’s recreation sports programs to help kids within my community. I also love being outdoors and doing activities such as canoeing, walking, or paddle boarding. I enjoy playing board games or cards with my family and boyfriend, and I am a bookworm who loves to read when time permits.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully in 10 years, I will be a registered occupational therapist working in either a nursing home or school. I hope to be financially stable, have a husband, and be starting a family. I would like to be semi-close to my hometown and help people in smaller rural communities similar to Yates Center because I feel that my future field is missing in these areas.
Favorite subject in school, what type of student are you, GPA?
My favorite subject in school is probably history or math. I really enjoy learning about decisions that others made throughout history and how civilizations were formed. I also enjoy math because it is very straightforward and helps with everyday tasks of life. I have taken a total of 18 college credits while in high school and have maintained a 4.0 GPA.
Who is your role model?
I look up to my parents in both a personal and athletic manner. My father, Jason, and my mother, Abbie, both went on to play sports at a collegiate level and have pushed both my siblings and me to challenge ourselves in any sort of competition. They are firm believers in the fact that sports can teach life lessons and build character, and over the last 18 years of my life, I can say that sports have taught me a lot about the type of person I want to be. That being said, watching how my parents support me, as well as their work ethic has shown me how far resilience, compassion, and hard-work can get you in life, and I hope to carry and demonstrate these characteristics now and in my future. Witnessing their experiences and life lessons has allowed me to become the athlete, student, and person I am today, and for that I am extremely grateful.
Best place to eat in your town or the surrounding area?
Sam and Louie’s is a great Italian restaurant in Iola, which is about 20 miles from Yates Center. The pasta is delicious, but the pizza is always the way to go in my opinion.
What would you say to the underclassmen out there right now reading this?
Always play as hard as you can, and always give it your all. I would also remind them that being a leader can be done at any age, but it is important that you lead in a manner that you would follow. In my mind, that is being a positive, respectful, and truthful role model to all my peers.
One thing the average person wouldn’t know about you?
I am very much an extrovert and enjoy talking to people, but I especially enjoy getting to go to the local nursing home and talk to the residents there. The therapy team at the Yates Center Health & Rehab facility has allowed me to shadow their occupational therapist assistant there, and I have really loved going out there and hearing stories while the residents are doing their workouts or playing games. So, I guess my fun fact would be that I love visiting the nursing home to visit with the residents.
Anything else to add?
My basketball and softball coaches are actually my grandpa and my mom. Langley Martin (assistant coach) is my grandpa and is my mom, Abbie Collins’ father. Sports is very important to my family, so you will always see my dad and little brother sitting behind the bench or near the dugout to support both my sister, my mom, my grandpa, and me whenever a game is happening. You will also always find my grandma and my great aunt ( my grandpa’s sister ) there to show support right alongside my father and brother. I also have my other grandparents and different aunts and uncles come which shows how much of a family affair sports is. I am extremely grateful for their support and would like to thank them for always being there for me.
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