FRANKFORT, Ill. (BVM) – Maddie Pomykalski watched the Women’s College World Series this year like she has every year since she was little. However, this year was different because the Texas softball commit was watching her future teammates make it all the way to the national championship game.
“It was weird watching and knowing all of the girls like, ‘Oh my god I know her,’” Pomykalski said. “It was just so different.”
The Longhorns were national runners-up this year, losing to Oklahoma in an all-Big 12 title game. Seeing her team play on the biggest stage in college softball poured gasoline on a fire that was already well lit within Pomykalski.
“It’s like every day I want to do something more,” Pomykalski said. “I want to do better because I know that, even now with them running up at the national championship, I do need to work harder.”
But even before watching the WCWS, the Lincoln-Way East High School grad was trying to take her game to the next level to prepare for her time at Texas. An already solid infielder with experience at third and shortstop, Pomykalski began training at every position.
“I just want to have all these positions under my belt so if anything gets thrown at me at Texas, it’s like, ‘OK I got it,’” Pomykalski said. “It won’t be as hard as learning a new position at practice there.”
The training hasn’t gone unnoticed. Pomykalski is considered by Extra Innings as a top 75 recruit from the Class of 2022 and a top 20 infielder. She is one of the reasons Texas boasts a Class of 2022 signing class that is ranked No. 12 in the nation according to Extra Innings.
The versatility that Pomykalski has worked so hard on is also one of the reasons the Longhorns wanted her in Austin and reached out to her after she had already committed to North Florida.
“Maddie was ranked in the top 75 players for her class of 2022 and has the flexibility to fill a number of positions for our team,” Texas head coach Mike White said in a press release. “She is a hard worker who has the personality to lift our team both on and off the field.”
Pomykalski’s mentality heading into Austin is to do just that, uplift her team and help in any way she can to get back to the WCWS.
“Being a good teammate, being supportive, knowing that I am a freshman coming into a team that was runner-up in the national championship,” Pomykalski said. “Playing my part, trying to help, trying to get on the field, of course, but just being that supportive teammate.”
However, her main goal is still to play and although she has the ability to play multiple positions, her favorite position is still shortstop.
“I love shortstop,” Pomykalski said. “I love being the captain in the field. It’s kind of like you’re in every play and I love it.”
It wasn’t even her original position. Growing up, she played third base. She had a good arm and loved fielding bunts. But a girl leaving her club team left an opening at shortstop that her coach thought she could fill.
Pomykalski not only filled the position, she thrived in it and colleges began to take notice by the time she was in seventh and eighth grade.
Due to Covid, the recruiting process was different and mostly online. Pomykalski initially committed to North Florida but decided she wanted something bigger so when Meghan Bartlett went from being the Ball State head coach to an assistant coach for Texas, she reached out to Pomykalski.
She decommitted from North Florida and committed to Texas in May of 2021. That was when the fire was originally lit to live up to what she believed it meant to be a Texas Longhorn.
“It definitely kick started a different motivation than I’ve ever had so I would say this past year or two it’s been a different motivation,” Pomykalski said.
Pomykalski has prepared herself to be a great Longhorn and an even better teammate. She has even helped recruit her longtime friend and teammate Katie Stewart to Austin. A year younger than Pomykalski the two girls have played together since they were in middle school and even live close to each other.
“It’s so nice knowing that I’m going to have family there, she’s like my family,” Pomykalski said.
That won’t be until 2023 but in the meantime, Pomykalski will be busy doing her part to get Texas back to Omaha, but this time she hopes they’ll leave with a national championship.