By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Girls’ sports at Munford High School has enjoyed golden era.
Since 2005, two volleyball squads and four softball teams have reached State. Several Lady Cougar track athletes have reached State with Crystal Williams winning a Triple Jump crown.
Along with female golfers reaching Murfreesboro in that time span, even the Munford Lady Cougar Basketball team reached the school’s first Sub-State round in 2013.
Now many banners hang in the Munford Gymnasium marking this era still in progress. And another symbol of this special time are college signings. The latest was Maddison “Mad Dog” Welch on April 16 in the Munford High School Library.
The two-sport standout will take her softball talents to Christian Brothers University.
“They’re getting a well rounded player in Maddison,” Munford Head Coach Glenn Goulder said. “She can play so many different positions. And I think she can do it at a high level. She’s a great lead off hitter for us. She steals bases and has a really good arm. Most of all, she’s one of the team leader. The kids point to her as the glue of the team.”
Welch was joined at her signing by parents Shannon and Joan, siblings Griffin and Jade and Coach Goulder and Assistant Coach Angie Gover.
“It feels great and I’m excited to start a new chapter in my life,” Welch said. “But I am going to miss the girls a lot.”
During her time at Munford, Welch played varsity volleyball and softball. Growing up in Tipton County her parents go her involved in softball at a young age.
“Maddison grew up playing in Atoka and she played traveling ball later,” Joan recalled. “She has worked so hard to get to this point.”
Shannon noted to sign at a school like CBU means Maddison also applied herself in the classroom.
“I’m the happiest about her going to a school with the academic standards of Christian Brothers,” he said. “That means the most. She’s going to get a great education. And she get to continue to play.”
Maddison had played a lot during her time at Munford on the court and on the diamond. During her time on the volleyball team, the Lady Cougars have reached the Sub-State round each year winning multiple District 13-3A championships.
But the sport Welch made the most headlines was softball.
“We were a little nervous when her and Tori got forced into the starting roles real, real quick as sophomores because of injuries,” Goulder recalled. “But they both played like they’ve been there their whole lives.”
The duo of Tori Ray and Maddison Welch moved toward the top of the lineup for Goulder. They played in the infield relieving standout Jodie Duncan after her hand injury in 2013.
This year Welch, Ray and fellow senior infielder Taylor Hobson are leaders on and off the diamond trying to help the program reach it’s fifth straight Class 3A State Tournament in May.
“We’re going to miss all three of our seniors,” Goulder said. “All three of them have contributed. But I think she’ll be ready to step in and do what she’s been doing right now. She’s had a lot of experience with her travel team. She’s done a tremendous job for them and she’s done a tremendous for us too.”
Welch’s tremendous play attracted CBU. The Lady Bucs are led by Mandi Balduf and play in the Gulf South Conference of the NCAA Division II.
Welch adds her name to a list of distinct Lady Cougars who played championship level volleyball and softball then inked a national letter of intent. Duncan (UT-Martin), Cali Overbeck (Ole Miss) and Sami Jo Schulz (Memphis) proceeded Welch.
“It feels great,” Welch said of that achievement. “I’m excited. I talked to Jodie the other day. She’s was like, ‘I’m hoping it’s as much as you hoped it would be.’ And it has.”
That achievement is now part of Welch’s Munford Lady Cougar legacy. She is a part of multiple banners already hanging in the gym. She wants to add one more before her time in done at Munford.
But Welch said she hopes the legacy she left with her teammates was one of unselfishness.
“I just hope they think that I came out and did what I could to help the team,” she concluded. “That they looked at me as a leader. Not just somebody who came through and did what I had to do for myself. I played for the team.”