In many cases, the final game of a senior’s high school career is met with mixed emotions. Even if the game is won, the happiness is quickly tempered with intense nostalgia and some sadness.
However, for six of the graduating Choctaw seniors, that sadness can also be met with excitement for more games to be played. After winning last year’s 6A Softball State Tournament, six of Choctaw’s seniors will leave the high school halls with more than a diploma—they were all granted scholarships to continue pursuing their softball careers. And since March is National Women’s History Month, it seemed only natural to honor local ladies working hard and achieving greatness.
Jakayla Whitney (UTL), Erica Vessles (2nd Base), Abby Martin (CF), Haley Pomplun (SS), Paige Bussell (LF) and Allyssa Sievert (RF) signed their letters of intent at the end of 2015 and, in doing so, ignited excitement in the local community.
“Our six seniors are a very special group of young ladies that have played sports together for many years,” said Lindsey Mudgett, Head Softball Coach at Choctaw. “This group of girls has been a group that our community has become very fond of for many different reason. A few of them play multiple sports, they have been through the Choctaw school district, they are a good representation of our town. Our town knows their faces because they have been around for a long time and have stayed together.”
The six athletes penned their names to the following schools: Rose State, Seminole State, Northern OC Enid, USAO and Garden City Community College in Kansas. This speaks volumes not only of the work ethic of each senior but also of the emphasis the community puts on athletics and education. When asked to describe each girl with a single word, Coach Mudgett gamely obliged. She described each girl with the following words: Haley-leader, Paige-consistent, Erica-committed, Jakayla-competitive, Alyssa-athlete and Abby-determined.
“Coaching a group of young ladies like this senior class is what makes a coach’s job easy, honestly,” said Mudgett. “They are the groups that make you look good! Obviously it is always a coach’s dream to get 25-30 girls that are driven, but you don’t always get that. So when those driven athletes do come along, you tend to push them more than anyone.”
The coaching staff and fellow teammates pushed each senior until success was the only option. With an impressive winning streak and a state championship under their belts, each girl will leave with a valuable asset some college athletes lack—confidence.
“I think each girl knows that no matter what happens in their future that they have a great community and great support from Choctaw.”