Centralia softball team wins big off the field with brain power

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CENTRALIA - The Lady Panthers Softball Team slid into success at the end of the season with some off-field accolades.

The Missouri State Softball Coaches Association selected the 2018 Panthers Softball team as Academic All-State for Class 3. The Panthers tied for first place in the state.

"It’s super awesome that we all achieved this and it’s a team thing and not just separately,” said senior captain Gwendolyn Bostick.

The association selects all-state by examining composite grade point averages. Centralia's was 3.88.

"Our softball team finished the year with the highest composite GPA in the state of Missouri - Class 3,” said Centralia High School principal Dr. Matt Smith.

Bostick said the award means a lot to her.

“I was kind of surprised honestly, but I was super excited because we moved up a class from last year because we were smaller last year," she said. "Now that we’re competing against the bigger schools for academic stuff, I feel like it’s an even bigger deal."

In addition to Bostick, six other players received Academic All-State honors: Lynsie Curtis, Scarlett Fox, Carter Hawkins, Ella Holiman, Anna Romine and Mallory Smith.

Smith said academic excellence is one of the school's core values.

"It means in practicing the right way, treating people the right way and doing the best you can in your academics and in your personal life and all those things," he said.

Head coach Kendra Murphy couldn't be more proud of her team for making academics a priority.

"We have a group of hard working girls and their hard work isn’t just on the field," she said. "They’ve been taught to work hard in whatever they do and they’ve definitely applied that to the classroom, more so than on the field."

Murphy said that's the expectation at Centralia - you get it done in the classroom. 

Bostick said she and her teammates all work on homework together in study hall and they always ask her for help if they need it.

The Lady Panthers are high achievers on the field as well. In recent years, they won the State Softball Championship in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016. 

Smith said the score at the end of the game will "take care of itself" as long as the students strive to reach their full potential.

"The baseline is that, if everybody is continually pursuing that excellence individually, then you wrap that up into the team concept or the group concept then our groups or our teams are able to achieve that excellence as a unit,” he said.

Most of the team will be returning next year. Bostick will be playing at Rockhurst University in Kansas City in the fall. She said she will miss the close-knit, family feeling of the Lady Panthers and Centralia High School.

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