In full swing: Milton's McCue excels in softball, golf
MILTON--Maddie McCue heard the same message that many young athletes have heard over the years: You can’t play both golf and softball or baseball. Eventually you must pick one or the other.
Unlike most of her peers, McCue took that as a challenge.
“I played T-ball since I was little and played golf with the youth program. They were all like, ‘You’re going to have to choose once you get to high school,’” McCue said. “I’m kind of one of those people who likes to prove people wrong. So I was like, ‘I’m not going to have to choose; I’m going to do both.’”
She’s glad she did.
Coming off a fourth trip to the WIAA Division 1 state girls golf tournament last fall, McCue recently began her final season of softball. She will likely finish as one of the prestigious program’s best hitters of all-time.
“if you’re willing to put the work in and work on both sports, you can make it happen,” McCue said. “I get golf lessons with Larry Tiziani in Madison during the golf season and the winter. Once softball starts, I don’t necessarily put golf aside, but my focus is my high school sport when I’m in that season.”
Milton golf coach Andrea Wieland has known McCue since she was 5 years old. Based on her hand-eye coordination, even at a young age, Wieland knew she was working with someone special.
At the high school level, McCue helped lead the Red Hawks to three team appearances at state and finished in the top 20 individually in three of her four trips.
McCue tied for 11th as a freshman, when Milton finished second in the team race at University Ridge. She was 11th again as a junior when she shot her best two-round state total—158—and tied for the second-best score on the second day with a 2-over 74.
“Her hand-eye coordination was apparent when I first knew her,” Wieland said. “But for golf, it’s a little different mental focus, a slower-paced game. In softball, if you get a little upset, she takes it out on that ball.”
Wieland was one of the many who told McCue—who also competed her first three years on the varsity gymnastics team in winter—she’d probably have to choose between golf and softball.
“She always believes in me, but she was always like, ‘Softball, really? You’re going to do both?’” McCue said with a chuckle. “It was kind of proving to myself that I could do it, too, and believing in that if I put the work and time into both sports, I can do them both.”
“Most people say you can’t do both because they do have conflicting motions in the swing,” Wieland said. “But it’s not that you can’t be successful.”
McCue has proven that.
As a freshman, she said she totaled 41 hits in a season, just one off the school-record mark. She nearly matched the record again as a junior. The outfielder hit .571 last season with a .605 on-base percentage. Over the past two seasons, she transitioned from more of a slap hitter to a power hitter.
“Now that I have power, the defense never knows what I’m going to do,” McCue said.
As for transitioning between the two different sports and two different swings, she says going from softball to golf presents more problems than switching the other way.
“Usually the first couple weeks in the summer, my golf game is really bad,” McCue said. “I’ll have a more softball-like, around-the-body swing, and it kind of screws everything up.”
On top of her accomplishments on the courses and diamonds, McCue is one of the top students among athletes statewide.
And she says when the dust settles on her high school career, she’ll miss her teammates most.
“She’s just awesome, a great student and great person,” Wieland said. “She’s a good leader and motivator. She’s one of those types of girls that people are just drawn to her because she has a bubbly, funny personality.”
As she gets set for college, McCue has finally been forced to make the decision between golf and softball.
She went back and forth but has finally settled on golf because she can play at the Division I level. McCue plans to attend the University of North Dakota.
“I might want to go into law, and they have a good law school,” McCue said of the school her parents—Lisa and Rick—also attended. “I realized if I am able to play a DI sport, that’s such a cool opportunity. They go to California and Arizona to travel and stuff, so I think that’ll be really good.”
McCue has delayed the decision longer than just about anyone thought possible. And it’s been worth it.