This year has been life-changing for Katy junior Olivia McFadden.

In June, McFadden played a crucial role as a sophomore in helping lead the Tigers to their second Class 6A state softball championship in five years. And on Oct. 12, McFadden determined where she would be continuing her illustrious career once her days as a Tiger are through.

The power-slugging infielder verbally committed to the University of Texas-San Antonio, announcing the decision at 8:02 p.m. last Saturday night. McFadden also received interest from schools in the SEC and Pac-12 that she considered, as well as several mid-major programs from Conference USA and the Sun Belt Conference.

Last season, McFadden hit .367 with 41 RBIs and 11 home runs to go with a .435 on-base percentage and .827 slugging percentage for the Tigers. She said she plans to play third base at UTSA.

McFadden will join teammate Sydney Blakeman in south Texas. Blakeman, a senior, is a verbal commit to the Roadrunners as well.

McFadden recently talked with The Katy Times about her college decision and expectations for her upcoming season at Katy.

Q: What was it about UTSA that made it the right choice for you?

A: Athletically, academically and socially. The coaching staff has a genuine interest in me and my development as a person, not just as a softball player. Not to mention, I fully expect, given the things the coaching staff is putting in place, that I am going to be a part of something special. I’m really excited about what they’re doing with the program at UTSA in regard to introducing a lot of sport science and technology to improve athletic performance. And it’s far enough (2 ½ hours) that will allow me to grow in my independence, and close enough should I get homesick and need an occasional home-cooked meal.

Q: What made the timing right for you to make this decision?

A: Once I knew UTSA was it, I was ready to commit and get back to playing ball.

Q: What did UTSA coaches say they had in mind for you? How did they say they could see you developing for them?

A: Lots of hard work. They’re going to push me to be the best version of me that I can be. And I’m super excited about starting the transformation. Not to sound corny, but if I commit and trust in “The Process,” I can be as good as I want to be.

Q: After last season, what are you working on this offseason to be even better, especially since you’ll have more responsibility as a bigger part of Katy’s offense?

A: Yeah, we lost a special group of senior players last year. Now we’ll have to establish this team and find different ways to win those tougher games. But my teammates and I are more than up for the challenge. In regard to what I’m doing specifically, I’m working on being a more consistent hitter and wanting to double my home run numbers and being more aggressive on my defense. I have to step it up.

Q: What has the offseason been like for you, being a state champion? What did you take away from last season, and how do you build on that to get ready for defending the championship?

A: It’s been absolutely amazing. The city of Katy and ‘Katy Nation’ have made us feel very special. We have the best fans around. In addition to having the best fans, we have the best coaching staff. The mental and physical preparation we undergo will prepare us to make a run in late May. So my takeaway is to trust the coaching staff, execute, lead, be accountable and try not to make the same mistake twice. (If) We do that, I think this team will surprise a lot of people.