BYU softball player McKenna Bull committed to play for the Cougars the summer before her junior year of high school almost four years ago. She has big dreams for the team as she enters her second to last season.
Bull has broken more than her fair share of records, and this season is proving to be no different. The junior pitched a no-hitter against San Jose State in the first game of the season and became BYU’s all-time saves leader by recording her ninth career save against Bethune-Cookman on Thursday, Feb. 25.
“I’m pretty excited,” Bull said. “I had a really successful year last year as far as pitching went; I broke a lot of records and was pitcher of the week quite a few times, so getting started again feels pretty good.”
No stranger to success, Bull’s high school career is equally impressive. Striking out 729 batters in her four years playing for Weber High, she led her team to the 2012 5A state championship and won the 2012 5A MVP from the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune.
Bull’s mother, Melissa, said it’s great to see her daughter’s efforts paying off.
“It’s been a lot of hard work for a long time,” Melissa said.
Last season Bull was named WCC Pitcher of the Year, All-WCC First Team and NFCA All-Pacific Region Third Team. She set BYU single-season records for wins (34), strikeouts (256), innings pitched (257.1) and complete games (29). Bull also led the league in strikeouts (64), ERA (1.55), opposing batting average (.171), games started (12) and wins in WCC play (10).
Having made quite the name for herself, Bull said she prepared for this season by going above and beyond her usual offseason training.
“I’ve put in a lot of extra work in the offseason; the hardest I’ve ever worked probably,” Bull said. “Over break I pitched every other day at least.”
BYU assistant coach Pete Meredith said Bull’s offseason training is the reason she’s where she’s at skill-wise.
“Her hard work in the offseason has really developed her into one of the top-tier kids (in) the country,” Meredith said. “She’s a developing kid that’s hungry … She’s passionate about the game, what she does and the team, so she’s pushing herself every day.”
Bull said she hadn’t considered attending BYU until a summer camp changed her mind.
“I came to a camp and knew this is exactly where I wanted to go,” Bull said. “I did really well, got a call a few weeks later and committed.”
Bull said her BYU experience has been just as had hoped it to be.
“I love the atmosphere, I love the field, I love the program itself,” she said.
Her biggest goal for the season is to get BYU further into the postseason than the team has ever gone before.
“While I’ve been here we’ve made it to regionals, but I want to make it to (the Super Regionals) and to the World Series,” she said. “I want to help my team to do that.”
Beyond athletics, Bull aspires to be a marriage and family therapist and recognizes college will be the end of her time as a softball player. This has provided her with further motivation for success while she’s still playing.
“She came to us this year and said, ‘I only have two more seasons to play softball, so I’m going to try and kill it in these last two years,'” Melissa said.
Humble as always, Bull said the success always comes back to focusing on the team.
“In the end, the coaches aren’t out there, we’re out there,” Bull said. “We drive the team and we all push and motivate each other. We know that by making each other better, we’re making the team as a whole better.”