TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — At North Florida Christian in Tallahassee, athletes can start playing varsity sports starting in the sixth grade. Softball player Hayley Turner did just that. She is a seven year varsity letter winner, and she's thankful for every one of those years that get her where she is today.
"Internally, she may have been scared, but the moment never looked too big for her," said head coach Dennis Gorham.
She's made the most of every moment, and in her senior season, Turner is leading this team in batting average, home runs, and RBI.
"When you don't have senior leadership, it shows everywhere," said Gorham. "You have to have somebody who we call the sheriff. When things start to fall apart, they can call everybody together and they can calm them down, and that's Hayley."
"I definitely looked up to the seniors and thought I wanted to be one of them," added Turner. "I always wanted people to look up to me, and without them, I would not have been."
Guidance that's paid off. Turner will play in college at the College of Central Florida.
"I'm so glad I got the opportunity to play."
It's the result of a lot of hard work over many, many years.
"To see it go to the next level, which very few boys or girls get to do, you just can't be more proud or more happy for her," said Gorham.
That work not just limited to the ball field, as Turner has a 3.89 GPA in the classroom.
"Middle school was hard for me with softball and academics, but growing up I've learned to have time management."
"That shows how disciplined she is, and that's why she'll excel at the next level because she's proven she can balance the classroom and the softball field," added Gorham.
She's had a long time to perfect that balance.
"Now I'm just more confident in myself, they want to be where I go, move on, I'm trying to be someone they look up to."
As a leader for those that are where she once was. Turner said she wants to study early childhood education in college.