April 30, 2009
Nashedra Barry likes to stay busy.
In addition to the time she spends with the Columbus High School girls basketball and slow- and fast-pitch softball teams, the senior standout is involved in a host of clubs and other extra-curricular activities.
Through all of the practices, games, and meetings, Barry''s focus is on academics. The member of the National Honor Society and National Spanish Honor Society one day hopes to be an orthopedic surgeon.
Barry took another step toward realizing that goal Wednesday when she signed a scholarship to play softball at East Mississippi Community College.
Earlier this month, Barry, a 6-foot-1 forward, signed a scholarship to play basketball for coach Sharon Thompson''s EMCC Lady Lions.
"I never thought I would (get to sign two scholarships), but it is great to be able to continue both sports because I love them both so much," Barry said.
A right-handed pitcher, Barry earned team MVP and best offensive player honors in her fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball career for Columbus softball coach Macy Wilbanks.
Barry started playing softball when she was 6 or 7 years old. Basketball followed a year or two later, and the sports remain Barry''s passions.
On the basketball court, Barry averaged 12 points and a team-leading 10 rebounds for Yvonne Hairston''s CHS Lady Falcons.
Like basketball, Barry believes she will be able to transition to college. She feels her ability to manage her time and to participate in all of her responsibilities has helped her maintain her focus.
"I think I can handle it," Barry said. "It will be harder, but I am used to having to juggle a lot of things."
Along with serving as student body president and being an active member of Columbus High''s student council, Barry has been affiliated with the school''s Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Beta Club organizations.
Barry isn''t sure if she will be as involved in clubs and organizations at EMCC. Frankly, she isn''t sure if she will have time.
But Barry doesn''t feel any pressure to do everything at a high level because she is self motivated. She said sports are a great outlet for her.
"My main goal is to get an education and become a doctor, so I just have to stay focused on that," Barry said. "Sports are a stress relief thing. It is more fun that pressure."
Barry joins previously announced EMCC softball signees Shakari Stribling (Meridian High), Leigh Ellen Barefield (Neshoba Central), Megan Ladner and Chelsea Theriot (Poplarville HS), DeShuni Sanders (Hew Hope), Mallory Pace (Northeast Lauderdale), Justine Jenkins (Caledonia), Katie Newman (Oak Hill Academy), Courtney Castleberry (Clarkdale), and Celeste Fontenot (Brusly, La).
EMCC coach Kate Neely has been recruiting Barry since she was a junior. She said she has known Columbus High softball coach Macy Wilbanks since her college days.
"(Nashedra) is a strong athlete who can play anywhere," Neely said. "She is a good hitter and should be able to come in and pitch for us."
Neely said she works well Thompson and that they will set a schedule for Barry. She said Barry will work primarily with the women''s basketball team in the fall and in the winter and that she will work one or two days a week in the winter with the softball team to maintain her feel for the game.
"Hopefully she will be able to step in for both of us and be a starter," Neely said.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.