‘She’s always prepared:’ Composure helps McKinney prepare for upcoming season


Khánh Nguyễn/ The Sunflower

Wichita State sophomore Sydney McKinney celebrates after hitting a home-run during the game against ECU at Wilkins Stadium on Mar. 28, 2021.

Receiving Hi-Chews for home runs was something the softball team was known for last season. However, Sydney McKinney is well known for getting a lot of base hits and a calm determined presence on the field while diving for ground balls. 

“The difference with Syd is that she’s always prepared,” Head Coach Kristi Bredbenner said. “She’s in great shape. She understands what it takes to be successful and do those things to sacrifice a lot to be the best.” 

McKinney’s commitment to the softball program has led her to be one of the top hitters in the nation. Last season, McKinney had 56 total runs, 31 RBI’s, seven home runs and only struck out four times. She was also named American Athletic Conference player of the year and NFCA Third Team All-American. 

Prior to the 2022 season, McKinney was named Softball American Preseason Third Team All-American. McKinney said the accolades she has received have boosted her confidence. However, she said it is not something that is used as a motivation to carry the team on her back this season. 

“I let it be what it is,” McKinney said. “I’m going to go out and I am going to play but if I have a good day or a bad day I’m still going to have a next game so I think just having that mindset of stick to what you know and don’t overthink it is what I stick to.” 

McKinney’s confidence on the field has helped her build trust with the pitching staff as during her time in the softball program. Right handed pitcher Caitlin Bingham said playing with McKinney behind her makes it easier to focus on each pitch. 

“So I have become accustomed if there’s a ball that’s on my right side I’m letting it go because she’s going to get it and I think that that’s a huge part of the defense we have is, I don’t have to worry about getting every ball because they are back there and their going to catch it,” Bingham said. 

Prior to joining the softball program at Wichita State, McKinney started off her collegiate career at Mizzou. Zoe Jones, who is a transfer from Texas Tech this season, shares a similar college experience with McKinney due to being a transfer as well. 

“She’s so fun to play next to and it’s really easy,” Jones said. “It was easy to mesh with her because sometimes you never know how you  are going to play with a new team and stuff and she just made it really easy to learn the ways of Shocker softball and how things flow here. Especially being in the same grade it helps.”

While some players are nervous to start the season off, McKinney said she’s still staying calm for the Shockers first series at the Bearkat Classic in Huntsville, Texas this week. 

“I mean, even if I don’t start off the first game great that doesn’t mean that I can’t finish the weekend off great so I think that’s the best part about softball and those long weekends is that you get so many chances to show what you got,” McKinney said.