STILLWATER, Okla. (BVM) – Kyra Aycock touched down in Stillwater, Oklahoma in early June and has begun the process of preparing for the next chapter of her softball career as a Oklahoma State Cowgirl.
“It’s been a little nerve-wracking, I’m not going to lie, but I’m excited to see what happens in the future,” Aycock said.
Nerve-wracking because she is going from her home in Newnan, Georgia to one of the best college softball programs in the country. OSU is coming off of a season that featured a Big 12 Tournament championship and a Women’s College World Series appearance. The Cowgirls came just short of playing Oklahoma in the championship after losing to Texas.
However, Aycock is ready for the challenge. The right-hander is a top-10 pitcher in the Class of 2022 and was receiving interest from other Power 5 programs like Florida State and Georgia. Through her play with Northgate High School and the Atlanta Vipers, she has become one of the best players in her class.
Those accolades and her talent on the softball diamond wasn’t always accepted. It was motivation for her and when she signed on the dotted line to commit to Oklahoma State, it was validation.
“It was really exciting because I could prove people wrong because I had people tell me I wasn’t going to be a DI pitcher,” Aycock said. “Just to prove them wrong was really exciting.”
There is no doubt now that Aycock is a Division I caliber pitcher. The journey to reach that level began a long time ago when she was first introduced to softball.
“I went to one of my cousin’s practices one time at a rec ball field somewhere,” Aycock said. “I was watching her and I told my parents I want to do this and they signed me up next spring.”
A love of softball grew from there. Aycock began to play travel softball and the level of competition, along with her talent, continued to rise. College athletics was always a thought but it became a reality around the time she hit eighth grade.
“It didn’t really hit me until around eighth grade that this is something I can really go do in college,” Aycock said.
Her play backed up that realization. Aycock helped Northgate High School make it to the GHSA state tournament in 2020 and 2021. As a junior, she had 191 strikeouts in 173 innings of work. This past season as a senior, she had an ERA of 0.60.
Aycock’s decision to get serious about pitching when she was 12 paid off and the extra work she was able to put in during Covid also played a part in her ability to dominate on the mound.
“Covid really helped me do that,” Aycock said. “During those lock down months when everybody was locked down, I was able to get a lot better and I was able to work a lot more than I ever have before.”
Colleges took notice and her recruitment really picked up. By the end of it, she had narrowed her choices down to two schools. In the end, Oklahoma State won out. Her experience in Stillwater, seeing the facilities, meeting the coaches and the players was what made the difference.
Now Aycock is in Stillwater and she is preparing to do her part to get the Cowgirls back to the top of the college softball world.
“I want to win a world series and I just want to have a good time and pitch,” Aycock said.
The pitching may take some time as the Cowgirls are returning the 2022 Big 12 Co-Pitcher of the Year in Kelly Maxwell. But the redshirt senior will be the perfect person to learn from and soon Aycock will be able to get back to proving people wrong.
“I hope I can keep working and prove them wrong even more,” Aycock said.