But there were still players deserving of special recognition. This year’s Johnson City Press/Times-News Sweet 19 team is a reflection of that statement.
The team is normally called the Sweet 16, but with the help of area coaches, one player from each area team was selected as a standout — equally for her athletic prowess and academic accomplishments.
Leading the way in both of those categories was the honorary player of the year: Daniel Boone’s Nickolette Ferguson.
Here is the Sweet 19 team with a comment on the players from each team’s head coach:
Alli Chandler (Senior, P)
“Alli will continue her career at Walters State,” said Jackie Strickler. “She is a four-year starter, all-conference three years, a leader on the team, and an outstanding student with a 3.9 GPA in the classroom.”
Siera Light (Senior, CF)
“Siera is an outstanding student-athlete,” said Kristen Richards. “She gives 110 percent both on the field and off. She works part-time and actively participates in softball and other extra-curricular activities, all while maintaining a high GPA. She is one of the hardest workers I know and she loves the game.”
Kassidy Miller (Senior, P)
“She is a hard worker in the classroom and on the ball field,” said Andy Hubbard.
Shayna Price (Senior, 2B)
“She will attend Chattanooga to study chemical engineering,” Jerry Higgins said. “A four-year starter with 63 career RBIs and 76 runs scored, she also has a 3.94 GPA.”
Nickolette Ferguson (Senior, P)
“She was very talented on the field and in the classroom and just made Daniel Boone better in all aspects,” Jeremy Jenkins said. “Her GPA is 4.2 and she is ranked No. 2 in her class.”
Jenna Davis (Senior P)
“Jenna is a great student in the classroom and very dedicated on the softball field,” said Carla Weems. “She is a very hard worker and a blessing to be around.”
Jazmin Hurley (Senior, OF)
“Jazmin has been a huge asset to our program and to our Bristol community,” said Jen Testa. “Her commitment to her softball team through her hard work and dedication has really helped change the culture of our program. She also has started a non-profit charity organization called ‘Love n People.’ This organization does all kinds of things, including purchasing, wrapping and giving presents to children in need at Christmas time.”
Makkenzie Compton (Senior, CF)
“She is the epitome of a student-athlete,” said Chris Sturgill. “She is a three-sport athlete, and she excels not only on the field but in the classroom. Makkenzie was a true leader and essential part of the Lady Rebels’ team.”
Autumn Moore (Senior, LF)
“Autumn has been a four-year contributor to our success in softball,” said Michael Forrester. “She is a true leader for our team and is graduating with a 4.0 GPA.”
Sydney Snapp (Senior, P)
“Sydney is a very determined young woman,” said Andrea Werner. “When she sets her mind to something, she pushes and achieves. She chose to get her nursing degree instead of playing softball at the next level. I told her she could do both, but she said she wants to put all her effort towards school. Sydney has a bright future ahead of her and I know she will do great things!”
Kaylen Shell (Senior, LF)
“Kaylen excelled on and off the field,” said Ken Hardin. “She was one of our top players while also carrying a 4.0 GPA.”
Hannah Brooks (Senior, P)
“She hit 31 career home runs and was also an outstanding student,” Greg Reece said. “She has a 3.9 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society, in the top 10 percent of her class, on the student council, and in the FCA. I cannot begin to describe the impact she had on this program. She is an outstanding leader, teammate, and as great a player as I have coached in my 16 years in the game. On top of that she is an even better person."
Bella Bogart (Senior, C)
“She is definitely a team leader,” said head coach Grady Lingerfelt. “She is a very smart girl, and it is unbelievable how far she has come.”
Claire Johnson (Senior, 2B)
“She is a great all-around student and athlete,” said Cody Hyder.
Kendall Nash (Sophomore, C)
“Kendall excels in the classroom and on the field,” said Melissa Nash. “She has a 4.039 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. Kendall was voted captain this season and is a vocal leader behind the plate. Her knowledge of the game makes her an asset both offensively and defensively.”
Emily Morgan (Junior, SS)
“She plays shortstop because we need her there, but she is also a really good outfielder,” said Keith Jeffers. “She’s a good student with a 3.6 GPA.”
Sadie Shoun (Sophomore, P)
“When other players were having trouble hitting, she would go work with them,” said Kenneth Chambers. “Sadie stepped up and was our leader on and off the field. As a student, she works hard in the classroom because she wants to go on and play college softball. She knows school is like everything else: If you want to do good, you have to put in the hard work.”
Kenzie Birchfield (Senior, P)
“She has a 3.89 GPA and is in the top 10 percent academically,” said Matt Birchfield. “She will be attending Walters State.”
Shae Maslin (Junior, LF)
“Shea is an outstanding student who works hard in everything she does, not only on the field but in the classroom,” Chelsey Weddle said.