FARMINGTON, Minn. - Heading to the state tournament is nothing new for the Farmington High School softball team.
“We’ve been in the state tournament four of the past six years and we’re looking forward to return,” said Farmington softball coach Paul Harrington.
But no one might be looking forward to that return more than senior pitcher Maddie Muelken.
“I don’t know, our season has been great. One of the best seasons we’ve had since joining the South Suburban Conference,” said Muelken.
What’s remarkable is not their 21-3 record, or Maddie’s impressive 14-3 year on the mound and at the plate.
It’s that Maddie has carried Farmington while battling through Stage 2 Hodgkin Lymphoma.
“It’s another thing that she just has to rise above, and prove to everyone else that she’s stronger than she looks,” said senior catcher Emily Berdan.
And as strong as she’s looked this season – her incredible resolve is what you don’t see. Maddie only missed a few games after being diagnosed in early March. She’s even played games on the very same day she had a chemo treatment.
“I would have chemotherapy, let’s say it started at 8:30, and then I’d be done by 10:30-11 o’clock and make it to the 4:30 game,” Maddie said.
And when she plays the field is her refuge.
“My mind goes completely away from the fact that I have Hodgkins, which is nice,” Muelken said.
Maddie says she is now 95% free of cancer. She still has a few more rounds of chemo and scans to make sure it’s all gone. But before that, she’ll graduate high school this week and try to win a state title. Ending a season that she refused to let anything get in the way of.
“I think it would be a cherry on top of senior year,” she added.
One that few her age have to deal with – and few any age could have done so, so valiantly.