GBI Magazine

Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4

Gold and Black is a multi-platform media company that covers Purdue athletics like no one else.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 84 of 88

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 85 BY STACY CLARDIE, M aya Hughes was having doubts. She was anxious. She wasn't confident. Could she play softball at Purdue? Could she handle unsettling, at times, team dynamics? Could she navigate different, difficult personalities? For moments, she wasn't quite sure. So she had discussions. A lot of discussions. And those included whether she should stay in West La- fayette. Her freshman season in 2015 started on a significant high, being named Big Ten Freshman of the Week in mid-February. It ended with a team-high 52 strikeouts and a .256 average. She kept playing — she started all 56 games in 2015 — but it was more than that. She'd lost confidence in her abilities, at times, and she wasn't sure she fit in with the culture. Easily, Hughes could have tanked. Especially after a sophomore season that had its own challenges at the plate, as her average dipped to .216. But she also was establishing herself as a dynamic center fielder, using elite speed to chase down balls and make dif- ficult catches. And she was growing up. So she stayed rooted. And then the program had a coaching change. And then Hughes, infused with confidence from the new staff, broke out at the plate last season as a junior, hitting .335 from the leadoff spot and scoring a team-high 43 runs. And the Boilermakers finished tied for ninth in the Big Ten with nine victories, their highest finish and league-win total since 2014. And Hughes' perseverance was rewarded. Ultimately, she says she stayed "just for the pure love for softball." "(There were) lots of mental shifts and refocusing, as far as (recognizing) it's outside factors that are affecting my emotions about the game, not necessarily the game it- self," she said. "I think I would have really regretted (quit- ting). I just enjoy the sport too much to do that." She's found that decision fruitful for a variety of reasons. Purdue Athletics Maya Hughes' focus for her final season is to help Purdue in any way she's asked, whether that's a shift in the lineup, in the field or in playing time. Resolved Hughes intent on big senior season, no matter role

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of GBI Magazine - Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4