In any sport, one can only hope that a student-athlete will develop qualities that will lead him or her to further success in life.
Count Makayla White as one of those student-athletes who has done more than her fair share to ensure herself of just that. White, a senior-to-be at West, earned Honorable Mention All-State accolades in softball to follow up an outstanding campaign that saw the junior collect nearly 13 points per contest en route to Third-Team All-Southeast District honors.
For White, however, it’s the trust of her teammates that’s helped her become the player that she is today in both sports.
“It’s an honor,” White said. “It feels pretty great to have my team backing me up through everything. I know that can always count on them in times of need.”
From the beginning of her high school career, White has proven to be a standout both on the diamond and in the gym, as the two-sport athlete has started all three years of her high school career in both sports.
During her freshman year, White proved to be an integral part of the Lady Senators’ run to the Division III, Region 11 Finals in Lancaster as the hard-nosed competitor teamed with current Shawnee State University hands Megan Shupert and McKenzie Whittaker, in addition to Kayleigh Coleman, Terra Butcher, and Daisy Holsinger, to form a formidable softball unit that defeated formidable softball strongholds in Valley and South Point to reach the regional final round — an experience that brought White closer to her teammates going forward.
“It does feel really good,” White said of playing with her teammates. “You get pretty close to them once you all start playing together. It’s like a family.”
While the past two years haven’t resulted in the same postseason successes for White, it certainly hasn’t been because of a lack of effort on No. 23’s part.
During the 2016-17 campaign, White, who stands at 5-6, led the Lady Senators in virtually every category on the floor as West made a three-win improvement from the year prior. Her 12.8 points, seven rebounds, 3.6 steals, and 2.9 assists per game were all team-highs for the Lady Senators.
And despite having just a month to prepare due to the quick turnaround from basketball to softball, White — who played at shortstop and third base over the vast majority of the season due to positional need — didn’t miss a single one of the 48 games that were played between the West baseball and softball programs despite the rigors that come with playing multiple sports.
“It’s been a challenge, but we’ve just practiced in order to get through it,” White said of the switch to a utility infielder from her normal catching sport. “I’ve just tried my hardest to fill in where I’m needed, no matter where that is.”
That mentality and motivation to fill in as needed, White says, comes from her father — who pushes the multi-sport standout to be the best that she can be regardless of the situation.
“My Dad pushes me really hard so that I can be the best that I can be,” White said. “He’s one of my biggest role models, both on and off of the court or the field.”
With several colleges already showing early interest in one of the SOC II’s brightest two-sport stars, White says that one of her main goals over the next 10 months will be to show the kind of student-athlete that they’ll be getting going forward.
“Rio Grande wants me to come practice with them and stuff, so I’m just going to strive for the best that I can possibly shoot for,” White said. “By doing that, I can show people who I can become and prove to them that I can accomplish a lot of things. I’m going to be the best teammate and player that I can be while having fun.”
However, regardless of what comes about following her playing days at West, White feels blessed to have had the opportunity to play with the very teammates that have helped her establish her own footing.
“It’s hard seeing the seniors leave,” White said. “I’ve played with them for three years. It’s also going to be hard when it ends for me, too. It’s been an enjoyable process.”
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7