Cross 1125 Jan2021

Sometimes when we use the term student athlete, the “athlete’ part of that phrase is what gets emphasized. But Checotah senior Amanda Brown is a student athlete in the true sense. First of all, there is the athlete-a talented softball player who is off to a fast start this slow pitch season, hitting well including a game-winning grand slam against Bixby. First-year coach Erin Bridges says that Amanda is one of her favorite players.

“She reminds me of me when I was a player-very competitive with a strong will to win. She’s always the hardest on herself, which I was, and isn’t hesitant about calling out teammates if they’re making mistakes. And like my high school coach did when I was like that, I have to remind her to chill out a little sometimes,” laughed Bridges. “She’s the leader of our team and because we’ve got a lot of inexperienced freshmen out this year, I’ve really leaned on her to be a mentor for them.”

Amanda generally plays in the outfield for the Lady Wildcats though she did play second base in fast pitch her freshman and sophomore years. When Bridges took over this year she decided to move Amanda to shortstop for the fast pitch season because of her strong throwing arm and Brown admits it was a difficult transition at first.

“It was pretty tough at the start because there’s a lot of difference in catching a fly in the outfield and fielding a hot grounder. But as I played more, the skills I got playing infield my first two years came back and by the end of the season it felt more comfortable,” said Brown.

And then there’s the “student” part of student athlete. Brown is the valedictorian of her class, a member of the student council, in the National Honor Society, a trainer for the football team and in the spirit club. Bridges has also gotten her involved in a Christmas program called Santa’s Soldiers, which is similar to Toys for Tots.

As she closes in on the end of her time as a Wildcat, Amanda is unsettled about whether the “student” or the “athlete” will win out at the next level. She has had some discussions with Connors State about her softball future. She wants to coach in the future so her academics will carry her in that direction. But whatever her choice, Amanda Brown is an excellent example of what the high school experience can look like.

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