Lady Blue VB standout now wears Northwest College redDec 21, 2017 By Scott Akanewich, Sports Editor
For four years, Tammy Maddock proudly wore the colors of Lady Blue, gracing the volleyball and basketball courts and the track for Shoshoni High School.
Upon her graduation last spring, the SHS triple-threat traded in her prep colors for one which more closely matches her red hair, signing to play volleyball for Northwest College in Powell.
Going from top gun on one's high-school squad to a college team where everyone was a prep star was an adjustment Maddock not only accepted and embraced, but thrived under, she said.
"Playing volleyball collegially has been an amazing experience -- especially at Northwest," said Maddock. "Many of the freshman -- including myself -- came in with many expectations of what we thought Trappers volleyball was, and we would always try to live up to those expectations.
"But coach (Shaun) Pohlman told me something I would never forget -- to let go of all expectations we had and to go with the process, because every person, every team and every year is different."
One thing which is the same is the rigorous training schedule she adopted in and around a demanding academic schedule, she said.
"During the preseason, we would have practice two times a day and weight training on top of that, so it was definitely not easy, but it was possible," said Maddock.
"During the season, we would be at the gym by 6:20 a.m. for a 7 a.m. practice, and we would practice until about 9:30, as well as lifting weights two times a week. But I love a challenge, and everything I did pushed me to be a better player and person."
Maddock joined the defending Region IX champions from last season, so playing time was difficult to come by with a very talented squad around her, including teammates from far-off lands such as Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Brazil.
Not exactly Fremont County, anymore, she said.
"Going from Class 2-A volleyball in Shoshoni to an NJCAA school was a very big transition," said Maddock. "In high school, I was relied on so much by my team, and I saw myself as one of the biggest leaders on the court. But as I got to college, my role completely changed. It was very hard for me in the beginning, because I didn't really know exactly where I fit on the team."
Until one day Maddock had an epiphany, she said.
"As I trained for the middle position with three other sophomores, it became clear to me what I was meant to do on the team," said Maddock. "I knew my true value was to be one of the best cheerers on the bench and to bring everyone up. I also knew everyone on the team had their own different roles, which were very important in contributing to the team in different ways."
That didn't mean Maddock was simply content to play the role of cheerleader. She pursued her quest to ensure she would get her chance, she said.
"I also found hard work really pays off, including extra reps in the gym after practice, late at night, or watching videos to improve skills, because I was able to get a lot more playing time throughout the season," said Maddock."I was always being pushed to become a better player by my teammates, student assistants and coaches."
One of the highlights of Maddock's freshman season was returning home to Fremont County when the Lady Trappers visited Central Wyoming College on Sept. 22, a match she and her new teammates won 3-1 (25-12, 25-18, 22-25, 25-19). Maddock came off the bench, playing in two of the four sets and collecting a kill in the process.
For Maddock, it was quite surreal to be out on the court in a place where she had been a spectator so often.
"It was definitely very weird to be playing in the gym I had grown up watching so many games in," said Maddock. "I was fortunate to have so many of my teachers, friends and family there cheering myself and my team on in Northwest shirts, and it was so great to see a bunch of familiar faces. My coach knew I would have some fans there, so he let me go in a couple of times, which was very enjoyable. It was fun to play against some girls I already knew as well -- just the whole environment felt upbeat and I could feel the love and support."
Good so far
Maddock, who aspires to be a teacher, has thoroughly enjoyed her initial venture into college life up north so far, she said.
"My overall college experience has been so great," said Maddock. "A lot of my time was dedicated to volleyball, such as practice and meetings, but when I was not doing volleyball things, I was studying or spending time with friends. The people always made it so fun, we never seemed to be bored."
Of course, there's one thing which simply can't be replicated when a young athlete leaves home for the first time, she said.
"I did miss my family a lot toward the beginning of the season, but as I built relationships with my team, they became my family and home away from home," said Maddock. "My classes all went very well, and thanks to homework and grade checks from my coach, I was able to maintain my good grades."
Now that Maddock had completed her freshman campaign, she's already looking forward to playing a larger role next season, she said.
"I've learned so much from this program, and I now know what complete dedication has to be in place for college sports. I know what all my priorities need to be and ways to focus on all of them," said Maddock. "Through leadership training with our coach and my fellow returners, I want to learn how to be an example for the upcoming recruits and I want to teach them the true meaning of Trappers volleyball.
"I'm the only middle blocker returning, so I want to be able to be knowledgable to help next year's middles. I've also already started training for next year and I will work hard in my individual practices, open gyms and workouts to become a better player for the upcoming season. I've really developed a love for this program."