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PHS’ Maggie Richards to pull double duty at W.Va. Tech

Senior will play basketball and softball

Parkersburg High's Maggie Richards battles two Spring Mills players for the basketball during the Big Reds' state-tournament opening win against the Cardinals at the Charleston Civic Center. Richards, who excels on the basketball court and softball field, will attempt her hand at both next season at West Virginia Tech. Photo by Joe Albright

PARKERSBURG – High school athletes who excel in multiple sports experience a difficult decision when selecting one physical endeavor to continue at the college level. Time restraints and class requirements present new challenges making committing to both a hard road.

Parkersburg High’s Maggie Richards fell onto this pathway due to her stand-out play on the basketball court and softball diamond. At least on the surface, it appeared a decision was imminent.

“I have always wanted to do both sports and I didn’t think it could be done,” said Richards. In reality, it is full steam ahead for both sports at NCAA Division II school West Virginia Tech.

After a brief overnight stay to Alderson Broaddus, Richards visit to Tech far outpaced what the Battlers offered the two-time Class AAA state champion. “I got to know some of the girls on the team and quickly clicked with them and the coaches came to see me play a couple of times as well,” she said.

As long as her grades stay up, Richards said this decision will last her entire four-year stay in Institute.

File Photo Parkersburg High’s Maggie Richards connects with a pitch during a high school softball game last season.

Her only scholarship right now comes in basketball, but after a workout with the softball team that could change. Basketball also would have been the sport if she was forced to make a decision.

Her position and duties on the court won’t differ from what she has done for the Big Reds. Richards said she will do whatever the team requires rather it is scoring, rebounding or assisting her teammates.

“Maggie is an excellent shooter with range. She is a strong rebounder and ball handler, but she doesn’t need the ball to be effective,” said PHS girls’ head basketball coach Scott Cozzens.

As far as what Richards needs to work on to prepare for the hardwood at the next level, coach Anna Kowalska simply told her to be confident in everything she does.

With Richards commitment, the Golden Bears added a sixth West Virginian to a roster including Alexandria Gray (Capital), Savanna Bailey (Montcalm), Jenny Wilson (Midland Trail), along with Brittney and Whittney Justice (Summers County).

PHS softball coach Jason Roberts thinks Richards will be a big hit with the Tech diamond program, too.

“Plain and simple there are a lack of good outfielders out there, so where you find a good outfielder who can whack the ball and hand an arm you pick her up,” he said of his outfielder. “Maggie will need to become a better athlete in the transition from high school to college. Once you get to college everyone is a good athlete. Swinging the bat is going to be a little different as well, hopefully she will pick that up also.”

Once his senior officially joins the team, she’ll be the sixth Mountain State native to suit up for head coach Amber Affholter. Taylor Dickerson (Midland Trail), Maddie Bowles (Herbert Hoover), Nicole Kester (Independence), Ashleigh Sexton (Independence) and Savannah Bragg (Independence) call the program home.

While she plays both sports, Richards plans to major in criminal justice. Her two-class test run at West Virginia University-Parkersburg this semester only reaffirmed her desire. The many branches provide a multitude of different career options. Richards shared her desire for a career comes more on the forensics side rather than law enforcement.

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