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Picayune student balances athletics and education

Traversing the complexities of high school is difficult enough, but Sarah Stockstill continuously adds to her list of responsibilities as she competes for the Picayune Maroon Tide softball, volleyball and basketball teams.

Basketball didn’t become a passion until sixth grade, and volleyball wasn’t introduced at PMHS until Stockstill’s sophomore year, but softball has been a constant for Stockstill after taking it up at age 10.

Taking part in three sports means there’s never a day off for Stockstill, but she’s ok with that.

“We wouldn’t get out of practice until 5, 5:30 and then I’d go home and do chores, but I really like not having a break. I like staying busy, staying active. It keeps me in shape for all the sports and I like that about it,” Stockstill said.

While being a multi sport athlete in high school isn’t uncommon, there are a variety of challenges that come with the numerous practices and games.

Being efficient and properly divvying up time for other aspects of life are integral parts of being an athlete who competes year-round.

“It’s really hard to balance all of it equally. For games, I would always try to get homework done and study on the bus or something like that. I manage to keep all (A grades) every year, but it’s mentally really tough. It wears me out,” Stockstill said.

The added pressure that comes along with taking care of business both on and off the field may be draining, but for Stockstill the positives outweigh the negatives.

Being able to compete at the high school level is a finite experience that ends after four years, so Stockstill makes sure to appreciate every aspect of being an athlete even if there are some challenges that go along with it.

“Honestly you just have to have a love for the game. You have to want to be there every day. You have to want to play and be better in everything you do and that’s really something I strive for is to be better and get better every day. Some people think that sports are only on the weekdays, but it’s literally every day,” Stockstill said.

Stockstill is a senior and is in the midst of the Lady Maroon Tide basketball season.

She helped lead the Lady Maroon Tide volleyball team to its first playoff appearance earlier this year, and is looking forward to playing her final softball season in a Maroon Tide uniform this spring.

Each sport along the way has yielded teaching moments from coaches that can be used to overcome off the field obstacles. It’s those lessons from coaches and former teammates that Stockstill plans to use moving forward.

“The coaches in all the sports are really great. They teach you that basketball, softball and volleyball are not the only things in your life. You need God, family and good grades to be able to go anywhere else. You need a future so they teach you that you need to work hard. It doesn’t come easy,” Stockstill said.

This may be the last year of Stockstill’s high school career, but she’ll continuing playing softball post-high school after signing with Southwest Mississippi Community College at the junior college level.