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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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She’s a catch

‘Grinding’ for a College World Series
Photo by A Nguyen

Junior DP Julia Cottrill (42) points a finger up after hitting a homer during Texas A&M’s game against Mizzou at Davis Diamond on Sunday, April 30, 2023.

Anyone who caught a glimpse of Texas A&M softball in 2023 was well aware of the impact two-way threat senior catcher Julia Cottrill has made since her transfer from Oklahoma State after the 2022 season.

She’s now focused on one goal: making the most of her final year in Aggieland by bringing home big wins.

Upon her arrival to College Station, Cottrill exploded on the offensive side of the game, which garnered her several individual top-10 finishes in offensive categories in the SEC. She earned the No. 3 spot in RBIs, No. 4 in doubles, No. 5 in total bases and No. 7 in home runs throughout the regular season of her junior year.

Julia also led the Aggies in multiple hitting categories, including 10 home runs, 12 doubles, 43 RBIs and had the highest slugging percentage at 0.636.

Not only is she known for her batting, the star catcher’s defense has come a long way since the start of her collegiate career at Florida.

“My defense definitely improved at Florida, [head coach Tim] Walton is one of the best defensive coaches I have played for,” Cottrill said. “Practice was hard, we [practiced] a lot of situations that you would not think of, but it prepared us for what [could] happen.”

Sports and softball have been a part of the Wichita, Kansas native’s life for as long as she can remember, crediting the beginning of her career to her father and grandfather.

It’s safe to assume college athletics runs in the catcher’s veins. Cotrill’s grandfather was the head coach of the Wichita State golf team for 24 years, and her father is the current head softball coach of the University of Missouri.

“From the time I could walk, we were swinging bats or hitting golf balls,” Cottrill said. “We were all very big [on] athletics in our family.

“[With] the amount of bullpens and hitting sessions they took me to or were a part of, I could never repay them for all the time they put into me,” Cottrill said. “I can definitely say that I am the player I am today because of [them].”

When discussing the biggest challenges Cottrill has faced so far in her softball career, she highlighted her experience going into college specifically.

“Separating my self-worth from my performance was a huge thing for me,” Cottrill said. “I am a person first and a softball player next. That was one of the biggest struggles that I faced, dealing with not always being [the most] successful and not letting that carry over into my regular life.”

After so many years in the sport, the long-term effects of practice and competing year after year pile on, Cottrill said.

“What we do is a grind, it’s hard,” Cottrill said. “Just learning to embrace the grind and fall in love with the hardships … [taught me] a good life lesson.”

Cottrill’s teammates have been her major support system throughout her time in College Station.

“For a long time, I really struggled with the failure aspect,” Cottrill said. “I think allowing the pitchers to pull me out of that [mindset] and knowing that they need me just as much as I need them, has helped me not only be better defensively, but also calm myself down offensively as well. I would not have the success, or even be here without my teammates.”

When asked if Cottrill ever thought about the possibility or notion of one day dawning the Maroon and White during her time playing in Florida, she showed strong convictions.

“No, never,” Cottrill said. “I honestly had no plans to leave, life just happened but I believe everything happens for a reason, and I am so happy that I got the opportunity to come here.”

Coach Trisha Ford played a major role in flipping the catcher’s commitment three seasons after a run-in with A&M in the postseason of Cottrill’s freshman year.

Cottrill credits assistant coach Jeff Harger for her stat improvements and recent development in the batter’s box.

“A lot of my problems [on offense] are mental rather than physical,” Cottrill said. “[While] Harger’s approach has made me very physically sound when it comes to hitting.

“Where I have really felt the difference is my mentality in the box,” Cotrill said. “[He’s taught us] we are dogs, we are going out and getting the job done. I think his mindset in keeping me as level [as possible mentally] has helped me … become successful.”

After graduating college, Julia said she wants to enter the coaching portal and start off on a lesser stage after spending most of her softball career in the limelight.

“Personal preference, I would want to start off smaller,” Cottrill said. “Whether that is JUCO, high school or maybe even a graduate assistant at a larger program.”

When asked plainly about what individual goals are on Julia’s mind, she only had one bold response.

“I want to win,” Cottrill said. “Honestly, my only individual goal is to make it to the College World Series.”

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