Student-Athlete Spotlight | Madison Kennedy
Softball MVP looks to elevate her game
There’s no feeling quite like standing in the pitcher’s circle for Yaks softball player Madison Kennedy.
“I love being able to dominate in that circle,” says Kennedy, who did that plenty during her freshman year on the way to being named All-NWAC East First Team and the Yaks Most Valuable Player.
While the Yaks missed out on making it to the 2023 NWAC tournament, Kennedy was among the conference leaders in strikeouts pitched, while also hitting nine home runs, two triples and nine doubles.
With her sophomore season just a few months away, Kennedy says she and the rest of the team have their eyes set on taking the next step.
“We want to make it to the tournament. Coach [Jason Weatherly] asks us every practice what our goal is and we all say NWACs,” Kennedy said.
“We’ve become a family, a sisterhood. I’ll remember how hard I pushed myself and the accomplishments we got out of that, both myself and as a team.” — Madison Kennedy
Kennedy’s first sport was basketball. But in the fifth grade, one of her coaches, who also coached softball, suggested she’d be a successful softball player.
“I went out to practice and really loved it, so I give him a lot of credit for getting me into the sport,” she said.
Kennedy would go on to help lead the Ellensburg team to the Babe Ruth Softball 12U World Series in 2017. During her senior year in high school, she led Ellensburg High School’s softball to the 2A state tournament, throwing a complete game with eight strikeouts for a 1-0 victory over the No. 5 seed and, later in the same day, hitting three home runs for another victory.
As she neared the end of her high school playing career and the college recruitment process, Kennedy decided she wanted to stay close to home.
“Coach [Renae Koppenhafer] was here at the time and I wanted to be part of rebuilding the program,” she said.
Kennedy is proud of her accomplishments during the Yaks 2023 season and said it is helping drive her to step up her game even more this year.
“It showed all the hard work I put in paid off and it gave me even more motivation for this season,” she said. “It fuels my fire.”
Looking to the future
Kennedy’s determination is also driven by the knowledge that this will likely be her last season of collegiate softball. She wants to go to nursing school and the time commitment required for the rigorous program will make continuing to play softball difficult.
“That’s why I’m so motivated to make this season the best one yet,” she said.
As Kennedy works on completing her nursing prerequisites at YVC, she focuses on balancing her studies with athletics.
“I love the grind and being busy because I’ve done in my whole life,” says Kennedy, who looks forward to following in her mother’s footsteps.
“My mom had been a nurse for over 20 years and I’ve always looked up to her,” she said. “I love the thought of going to work and taking care of people. That’s a really rewarding thing to be doing every day.”
Regardless of what happens during the Yaks upcoming season, Kennedy will treasure the relationships that she’s built with her teammates and how they’ve succeeded together.
“We’ve become a family, a sisterhood,” she says. “I’ll remember how hard I pushed myself and the accomplishments we got out of that, both myself and as a team.”