Wewahitchka’s 2022 softball team truly exemplified the term “student-athlete.”
Although the Lady Gators fell short of bringing a state championship trophy home, the players achieved something else that few, if any, teams have ever done.
Every girl on the team, including the team manager, earned a grade point average (GPA) of 4.0 or better during the school year.
Because of this classroom prowess, the Gulf County School Board honored the team on Thursday, July 21.
“I’m so happy for the Wewa team,” said Superintendent Jim Norton. “This is an outstanding feat to achieve, and it says a lot about our school system.”
The Lady Gators “have found tremendous success on and off the field,” said Norton, who also pointed out with great pride that Gulf County was “the only district in the state of Florida that went up a school letter grade,” improving from a C to a B. “This bodes well for our future.”
Emphasizing the importance of extracurricular activities in student life, Norton noted that “close to 90 percent of our kids at both (Port St. Joe and Wewa) schools do extracurricular things, with the bulk doing more than one.” These kids, said Norton, “tend to find success in life.”
One of the parents in the audience, Anitra Mayhann, had two daughters on the team: Morgan, a 2022 graduate, and Savana, a rising junior.
“Both girls have been involved in sports since kindergarten, but academics have always been more important,” said Mayhann.
Haley Guffey’s battery mate behind the plate, Morgan, will be attending the University of Florida in Gainesville on a Bright Futures scholarship.
The entire team having such a high GPA “wasn’t a surprise,” said Morgan. “Schoolwork has always come first, and the coaches push us. We all try hard” to keep our grades up.
Morgan will be majoring in biology on a “3 + 4 program,” meaning that as she finishes her fourth year toward her biology degree, she will be starting her first year of pharmacy school.
Morgan and the other three seniors on this year’s team — Guffey, Kylie Parker, and Katie Shealy — compiled a four-year record of 69-17, including two division titles, two regional titles, two state final four appearances and one state runner-up trophy.
Their record would have likely been higher but for the shortened 2020 Covid year, which brought their season to an abrupt end with the team at 8-0.
Four members of the team were unable to attend the school board meeting due to conflicts.
Shealy, also a Bright Futures scholarship recipient, has already begun classes at the University of Florida.
Twin sisters Ashley and Hope Thompson, along with Severa Haney, were out of town honing their softball skills with a travel ball team.
Next year’s Wewa squad will continue to work hard both on the field and in the classroom. According to Morgan, earning high marks while fielding competitive softball teams is not new to Wewa.
“Every year the girls keep it going,” said Morgan. “Being a Lady Gator (means) you keep your grades as well as having a strong team.”
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