OKLAHOMA CITY– Kelly Maxwell didn’t get a full night of rest following her dominant pitching performance in the first round of the Women’s College World Series on Thursday night.
After defeating Arizona 4-2, Maxwell and four other Cowgirls were asked to take a drug test postgame, something that isn’t out of the ordinary for collegiate athletes. However, something that wasn’t conventional about the drug test was the amount of time it took Maxwell to get back to Oklahoma State’s hotel following the game.
“She gave a sample immediately,” said head coach Keny Gajewski, explaining how Maxwell was told to take a test around midnight on Thursday night. “She got back to the hotel at 3:15.”
Even with Maxwell’s late-night, she still came out for the second round of the winner’s bracket in a game against Florida on Saturday night with an edge–per usual. This edge led the Cowgirls to a 2-0 victory, in which the Co-Big 12 Pitcher of the Year pitched a complete game in the circle, with nine strikeouts on the evening.
Despite Maxwell staying out later than anticipated on Thursday night, Gajewski still knew who he needed to turn to in a game that could advance the Cowgirls to the semifinals of the WCWS.
“She’s our ace… just didn’t think much about it to be very honest,” Gajewski said.
While Maxwell came out and… well, performed like Maxwell, this still didn’t take away from how Gajewski felt about the hindrance in his ace’s schedule, breaking down how a routine drug test ended up taking over three hours out of her schedule. .
“You can imagine these kids sweat like crazy and they hydrate all game long,” Gajewsk saidi. “Her sample of her was diluted. I mean explain that. Explain that stuff.”
While for some it’s easy to just give another sample, as Florida head coach, Tim Walton, explained how he hasn’t had any severe issues with players being drug tested.
“I just had one that had to do a whole bunch of crunches,” Walton said while laughing. “True story.”
Maxwell on the other hand–didn’t have that easy of a time.
“Now she has to sit here and try and pee again… it’s not fun, people are staring at you, you’re trying to test, you’re tired,” Gajewski said.
Gajewski wasn’t the only one that thought his ace was “on fumes” as he said, but Maxwell also admitted that fatigue ended up playing a factor in his performance late in the game against the Gators.
“Yeah, my rest has been a little short after what happened the other day… I did get a little tired at the end, but I was able to push through,” Maxwell said.
For Gajewski though, he wasn’t upset with anybody in particular, as he recognizes the changes from the format in the past have affected this postseason positively. Last year, the WCWS was only seven days long, this year though, it’s 10 days long, as the NCAA has allowed teams and players to receive days off, which assists those that perform well in the tournament and don’t have to take part in elimination games.
“I know the committee is working their tails off, we got this format changed… it’s awesome. I’m all in, it’s just another part we have to keep looking at,” Gajewski said. “If we have to play the next day if this format hasn’t changed… this is a tough deal. I’m not mad at anyone, I just know that this process needs to probably be looked at.”
“I think if we really want to do what’s right and help keep growing our game, keep growing collegiate sports, student-athlete welfare would be at the top of this list,” Gajewski said.