So many eye-popping stats to analyze and comb over when looking at the streaking softball program at Mead, yet one of its most telling figures comes off the diamond.
4.0 — that’s the team’s cumulative grade point average, per the school’s administration.
Over the recent fall seasons, in times of masks and no masks, Mavericks coach Amanda Macaluso has constructed a program that has reached steep, new heights.
On the field, the Mavs’ eighth-year leader has helped develop strong arms and big bats as the team has risen up the state ranks, clinching its first berth into a state championship game a year ago. Excellence in the classroom, though, could be the most telling characteristic for her current roster.
“We have a young lady, a freshman, trying to transition (to high school), and watching one of my seniors connect with her and say, ‘Hey, if there’s something you need, we took that class, we can help you out,'” Macaluso said. “For them to offer that leadership, and that guidance, and really emphasize that this is way more important than softball, it’s been really neat to watch that the older athletes get it and they’ve been passing that along.”
Mead has 12 players on its varsity roster, two of whom are freshmen and have no GPA yet. Seven of them are members of the school’s National Honor Society. While the team’s overall GPA is a perfect 4.0, the average GPA among the team’s NHS members is weighted at 4.181.
Senior Claire Adams, the team’s batting leader as well as its second arm in the pitching rotation, said she has a 4.1 GPA. Adams is good enough to play collegiately. Smart enough, though, to rank her priorities.
“I’m looking for some place that can give me a degree for the rest of my life,” Adams said when asked about the recruiting process. “Not just softball.”
Of course, a roster full of “intellectual athletes” as Macaluso put it, comes with its own challenges. Sometimes, the coach said, she has asked her squad to get out of their own head and just play.
“If you’re not having fun, you’re in the wrong place, you’re doing it wrong,” Macaluso said. “This is where you should release, this is where you should stop thinking and just have fun. This is where you just let all your muscle memory and all your experience and all your time playing this game, let it shine. Let it fly.”
The Mavericks, following their runner-up finish to Holy Family during the pandemic fall of 2020, opened this year 3-5 before rolling to nine straight wins.
Leading the way, Adams came into the weekend hitting .644, 18th-best in the state. Junior ace Joslynn Veltien came into Saturday with a 3.03 ERA in 62 1/3 innings pitched.
“Every girl expects to get in and work hard, and for everyone to give their best effort,” Veltien said. “It’s what we do in the classroom, work hard and give all of our effort every single day. We have high goals set for ourselves to achieve certain things.”
For them, mindset matters.